Russia still hopeful to have Maria Sharapova for Olympics
Maria Sharapova remains in Russia’s plans for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, according to the Associated Press.
Sharapova, 28, is provisionally suspended at the moment for failing a drug test when she tested positive for the banned substance Meldonium at the Australian Open in January.
Meldonium was banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency on Jan. 1 and has since seen a flurry of positive tests by Russian athletes including Yuliya Efimova, the four-time breaststroke world champion from Russia, and Nikolai Kuksenkov, Russia’s top male gymnast. WADA estimated that more than 120 athletes have tested positive for the heart disease drug. Sharapova said that she had been taking Meldonium due to medical reasons for the last 10 years and was not aware of the WADA ruling that banned it.
According to the AP, Russian Tennis Federation president Shamil Tarpishchev issued a statement saying “we really hope that Sharapova will still be allowed to take part in the Olympic Games.”
No date has been set for her hearing with the International Tennis Federation.
Sharapova took silver at the 2012 Olympics in London, as she lost the gold-medal match to Serena Williams. She is currently ranked No. 9 in the world.