10:36 GMT02 April 2020
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    Russian athletes may miss the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro this year as a result of WADA and the International Association of Athletics Federations not wanting to risk their reputations by doing nothing, the head of the independent committee in the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said Wednesday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – A large number of Russian athletes tested positive for doping since the start of 2016 have been taking meldonium.

    "My guess is Russia may not make it back for Rio. IAAF & Wada not going to risk reputations by rolling over," Richard Pound said.

    He added that the latest documentary by the German television channel ARD had demonstrated that "not enough is changing in Russia to re-comply."

    On Monday, Maria Sharapova, a five-time Grand Slam champion, said that earlier this year she had tested positive for meldonium, an anti-ischemic drug used in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union to treat heart conditions.

    The incident comes following the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) November report, in which the agency accused Russia of numerous breaches of global anti-doping regulations and recommended the country be banned from international athletics competitions.

    WADA banned meldonium from use by athletes on January 1, 2016. The agency considers the drug to be a metabolic modulator that increases athletes' endurance and shortens post-exercise rehabilitation time, as well as enhancing central nervous system activation.

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