Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova has just revealed this Monday that she was tested positive for the banned substance known as Meldonium (1). This was before she was warned at least five times that the substance she was taking was banned, in which she had been taking for almost her entire career (2). As a result of this, Sharapova is now being faced with the increasing amount of questions related to the “following of her fail drug test” (3) and ,may of her fans and sponsors are deliberately becoming more distanced from her (4). However, this drug, as commented on by Latvian manufacturers, is ‘normally prescribed for periods of just four to six weeks, though the treatment can be repeated two or three times a year’ (5). Adding on to this, it seems that Sharapova’s explanation on her 10-year history of taking Meldonium will be placing her career on the breadline, especially since winnin Wimbledon at the age of 17 (6). Nick Pound, Wada’s founding president replied to all of this, “all tennis players were given notification of it and she has a medical team somewhere. That is reckless beyond description.” (7)
3, 5: Newman, P. (2016) Maria Sharapova: Russian ditched by sponsors as questions swirl around her Meldonium use. The Independent, available at: http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/tennis/maria-sharapova-russian-ditched-by-sponsors-as-questions-swirl-around-drug-use-a6920196.html [accessed 9th March 2016]
2,6, 7: Rumbsy, B (2016) Maria Sharapova warnedfive times that Meldonium was being banned. The Telegraph Online, available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/tennis/2016/03/08/maria-sharapova-clouds-gather-over-tennis-star/ [accessed 9th March 2016].
1,4: BBC Sport- Tennis. (2016) Maria Sharapova failed drugs test ‘reckless’. BBC News, available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/tennis/35757814 [accessed 9th March 2016]
As for this news story, I was very surprised at first to hear that one of the best sportswoman for 11 years has been tested for drug-use. However, when I heard that she was Russian, that didn’t surprise me at all. This was because there has been so much recent history and news of Russian athletes using performance-enhancing drugs and the fact they may be unable to participate in the Rio 2016 Olympics due to all this.
This news story is obviously going to be a big deal to many people, especially Sharapova’s sponsors and fans- but also many fans of tennis in general because even this seems to be an inherent factor of Russian sports today, it could eventually be as big as the news story of Lance Armstrong’s ‘get-away’ with his doping during the Tour De France. Both of these stories make me bring on the question of how long athletes are getting away with using these performance-enhancing drugs, why they are taking them in the first place and the most important one (to me) how accessible these drugs are becoming to so many athletes in so many countries.
Many of the rumoured and predicted reasons nowadays tend to be the pressured on athletes to be able to achieve certain abilities and even look a certain way. It’s like I said, before- today, they are just so easy to get hold of .