Meldonium has revealed a remarkable side effect: every sport responds quite differently to a positive test. In skating and athletics there has been disgust for the positive doping tests of the Russian sprinter Pavel Kulizhnikov and the Ethiopian-Swedish runner Abeba Aregawi. As if it is absolutely certain that they have made their world performance through trickery and deceit.
Tennis reacted much milder on Maria Sharapova as if it is impossible that the highest paid sportswoman in the world might have fooled.
Cycling reacts totally differently. Eduard Vorganov of Katusha also tested positive for meldonium. This is the second positive doping test of Katusha within 12 months. Earlier in July 2015 Luca Paolini tested positive for cocaine. Vorganov denied in the media but fellow cycling teams – joined in the MPCC – demanded that the entire Katusha team be given a start prohibition. A collective punishment with which the innocent become victims of the behavior of others.
What is the most reasonable response? That is hard to determine. There are too many factors and parties that play a role. The Russian conspiracy theories and the Western media strategies cannot simply be pushed under the carpet as nonsense.
WADA does not bother about emotions. High from an ivory tower, there is no place for nuance and certainly not for discussion A rule is a rule. A positive test, deliberately used: 4-year suspension. Unintentional use: 2-year suspension. When legitimate mitigating circumstances, the exclusion is still twelve months.
Wether meldonium improves athletic performance, and to what extent, is irrelevant for disciplinary proceedings. The drug from Latvia is not on the doping list because rigorous; double blind scientific research has proven that meldonium has a performance stimulating effect. It is forbidden because WADA believes or thinks or suspects that meldonium potentially promotes performance. And the same argument applies to a large part of the doping list. For hundreds of substances. The reason is simple. No money is simply available to determine exactly what impact all these banned substances have on athletes.
The above story leads to only one conclusion. That whole doping list is nothing more than guesswork.
Although the performance-enhancing effect has not been established and the health claims of the manufacturer have never been proven scientifically, meldonium is particularly popular among Russian athletes.
But this last argument should not be invoked as a reason to place the product on the doping list. There for three criteria apply: performance enhancing, harmful to health and not in accordance with the ethics of sport.
Last year meldonium was not forbidden and was on the so-called monitor list of WADA. That gives WADA an impression on what scale the drug is used. It seems that the result of this monitoring study was an important argument for placing meldonium on the doping list.
A study last year showed that of 8,300 urine samples 2.2 percent of the athletes used the drug. That is a total of 183 urines with meldonium.
At the European Games in Baku 9 percent of the participants used meldonium !!!!
(what they really mean 9% of the tested athletes or 9% of all participants??)
The doping laboratory in Cologne found an even higher percentage among Russian athletes: 17 percent.
- Also sold under the name Mildronate.
- It has been developed against cardiovascular diseases.
- The agent could also promote recovery and endurance in athletes.
- After a few days it is not possible to detect it in urine.
- Was developed to promote the condition of Soviet soldiers who fought against Afghanistan 30 years ago.
- The product is not registered in Europe and America, and thus not available there.
- According to manufacturer Grindeks it is too expensive to get it approved.
- Meldonium is cheap and has been widely used in recent years.
- In Russia one box of 40 capsules of 250 mg costs 4,11 euros or 165 THB.
- The product has already been on the market since 1990.
- According to sports doctors all Russian athletes use it.
- The WADA prohibition fosters the idea in Russia that there is a Western plot against the Russian sports.
Sergei Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs, demanded clarification from WADA on the unreasonable ban on meldonium.
Russian politicians even oppose the WADA report which found that in Russia there is state doping. Russian athletes may not participate in international competitions since the report of Dick Pound. No country has more positive tested athletes than Russia.
With a little more attention all these positive meldonium tests could be avoided. In 2015 meldonium was on the monitor list of WADA. In October WADA announced that meldonium would be prohibited from January 1, 2016.
The reasoning of WADA would have been that the athletes had plenty of time to stop the agent. But that is a lie of WADA because in 2009 with the introduction of methylhexanamine on the doping list more than 200 athletes tested positive on it. That situation was a copy of the meldonium case.
Kosta Poltavets, the coach of Russian skaters said “everyone is informed at the time it was known that it was on the list of banned substances.”
Koelizjnikov according to the Russian skating federation also stopped meldonium this year. A lie detector showed he had not swallowed anything. He was said to have been cheated by jealous teammates.
Sharapova also should have been aware of the ban. She would not have opened her WADA email. But her staff should still have warned her. Also, the Tennis Federation ITF and the players organization, WAT briefed the tennis players in December on the ban.
Sharapova used meldonium for ten years for medical reasons on medical advice. She often had flu and suffered from diabetes-like symptoms. According to doctors, these symptoms do not justify the choice of meldonium.
Sharapova has lived since her 7th year in America. Meldonium is forbidden. A doctor is not permitted to prescribe it. She may also have violated the rule that an athlete should indicate at any doping test if he or she has used drugs, and which ones. Even if they are not prohibited. That she had to do all those ten years she was using meldonium. That is of course easy to check on all the doping papers that exist of her.