Maria Sharapova suspended 2 years for anti-doping rule violation

(KUSI) — Tennis star Maria Sharapova has been suspended for two years by the International Tennis Federation for committing an Anti-Doping Rule Violation, the organization announced Wednesday.

Sharapova provided a urine sample on Jan. 26 following her quarter-final match at the 2016 Australian Open. Meldonium was discovered in the sample following testing at a WADA-accredited laboratory. Meldonium is a metabolic modulator that is a banned substance on the 2016 WADA Prohibited List. 

The organization informed Sharapova in March that she was charged with an Anti-Doping Rule Violation, and she quickly admitted to the violation. Sharapova later announced in a press conference that she had failed a drug test following the Australia Open, and she was provisionally suspended. A two-day hearing was held in May, where the Independent Tribunal heard legal arguments from both parties to determine the consequences to be imposed for Sharapova’s violation. 

The decision on her punishment was made just under a month following the hearing. The full judgment can be read here, but an excerpt from the ITF’s press release summarizes the findings and punishment:

The Independent Tribunal determined that (1) Ms. Sharapova should serve a period of ineligibility of two years; (2) due to her prompt admission of her violation, that period of ineligibility should be back-dated under Article 10.10.3(b) of the Programme to commence from 26 January 2016 (the date of sample collection) and so should end at midnight on 25 January 2018; and (3) her results at the 2016 Australian Open should be disqualified, with resulting forfeiture of the ranking points and prize money that she won at that event.

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