Sprinter Nadezhda Kotlyarova, a 4×400 metres relay European Indoor silver medallist in 2013, has become top Russian sports star to fail a doping test for meldonium, her coach has admitted.
The 26-year-old one-lap specialist ran an outdoor personal best of 51.42sec finishing sixth in her semi-final at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championship in Beijing last year.
She teamed up with Olga Tovarnova, Tatyana Veshkurova and Kseniya Zadorina to clock 3min 28.18sec for second place behind Britain in the relay at the 2013 European Indoor Championships in Gothenburg.
Kotlyarova’s failure was reported by the Russian news agency TASS, who quoted her coach Sergei Vorobyov.
“She took this medication on doctor’s advice [for] at least six months, but then stopped using it,” he said
She registered a positive test at last month’s Russian Winter meeting in Moscow, where she had finished third over 400m.
Numerous other Russians have failed for meldonium in recent weeks after the heart-attack drug was added to the banned list of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on January 1.
The most high-profile include tennis superstar Maria Sharapova and four-time world swimming champion Yuliya Efimova.
Others include speed skating champion Pavel Kulizhnikov, short track speed skater Semyon Elistratov and ice dancer Ekaterina Bobrova.
Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko has criticised WADA for not doing more scientific tests on how long the substance remains in the human body before it was added to the banned list.
Developed in Lativa, meldonium was moved from the monitored to the prohibited list by WADA due to “evidence of its use by athletes with the intention of enhancing performance”.
More than 100 athletes worldwide have now failed in total, the majority of them involving Russian sportsmen and women.
Other high profile cases in athletics involve Ethiopia’s Tokyo Marathon winner Endeshaw Negesse, Sweden’s Ethiopian-born former world 1500m champion Abeba Aregawi and Ukrainian runner Nataliya Lupu, the European Indoor 800m champion in 2013.
Wrestlers, biathletes, volleyball and rugby players have also been implicated.
- By Nick Butler
- Republished with permission insidethegames.biz