22:48 GMT23 November 2020
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    The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has no grounds to punish Russian athletes who have tested positive for meldonium, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said Wednesday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Earlier in the day, WADA said in a statement seen by the R-Sport news agency that less than 1 micrograms of meldonium per milliliter would be permissible in samples submitted before March 1, 2016. The world anti-doping body listed meldonium as a banned substance on January 1.

    "WADA has no grounds to punish the Russian athletes whose doping tests were positive for meldonium," Mutko told R-Sport.

    According to the sports minister, the fight against doping is aimed at protecting the "clean" athletes and punishing those who deliberately use illegal substances.

    "In this case [with meldonium] we can see that it is impossible to prove the guilt of an athlete. As well as [the athlete’s] innocence, by the way. The drug has so far proven to be more complex and requires a serious study," Mutko added.

    Meldonium is used in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union to treat heart conditions. The WADA says the drug is used to enhance an athlete's performance. Mutko estimates 40 Russian athletes have been implicated in meldonium use.

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    Tags:
    meldonium, WADA, Vitaly Mutko, Russia
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