Maria Sharapova Banned for Two Years
Tennis star Maria Sharapova has been banned for two years by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) following a failed drug test.
Sharapova, 29, was provisionally banned in March after admitting she failed a test for banned substance meldonium at January’s Australian Open.
However, the Russian superstar says she will appeal against the ban, which is backdated to 26 January 2016.
“I cannot accept an unfairly harsh two-year suspension,” she said.
“With their decision of a two-year suspension, the ITF tribunal unanimously concluded that what I did was not intentional.
“The ITF asked the tribunal to suspend me for four years – the required suspension for an intentional violation – and the tribunal rejected the ITF’s position.
“I intend to stand for what I believe is right and that’s why I will fight to be back on the tennis court as soon as possible. I will immediately appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.”
In reaching its verdict the ITF recognised the five-time Grand Slam winner had not intentionally broken anti-doping rules, as she did not know that meldonium, formerly referred to as mildronate became a banned substance January 1, 2016.
But they faulted the Russian for failing to “take any steps to check whether continued use of the medicine was permissible”.
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