EXCLUSIVE: WADA Official Hits Back At Head’s Sharapova Comments and Defends The Banning Of Meldonium - UBITENNIS
Connect with us

Hot Topics

EXCLUSIVE: WADA Official Hits Back At Head’s Sharapova Comments and Defends The Banning Of Meldonium

Published

on

The Media Relations manager of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), Ben Nichols, has branded Head’s remarks on Maria Sharapova’s ongoing doping case as ‘inappropriate’ in an email sent to ubitennis.net.

The prestigious sporting equipment and clothing company has been vocal in their support for Sharapova, who currently has a sponsorship with them. During the Australian Open, Sharapova failed a drug test after testing positive for Meldonium, a substance which was added to WADA’s list of banned substances on January 1st 2016.

On March 11th Head posted a statement of support for Sharapova and questioned the justification for suspending the former world No.1. A week later on March 19th, the CEO of Head, Johan Eliasch, called for the WADA to publish the scientific evidence they used to ban the drug.

“It appears WADA has banned the substance based upon the number of athletes using it rather than its actual efficacy in improving performance. The meldonium investor and drug manufacturer claim the drug should be taken by athletes who wish to protect their health.” Eliasch said during a lengthy statement.

HEAD’S support of Sharapova has been welcomed by her army of fans, however, questions has been raised about their vocal support before her doping hearing has taken place. Ubitennis contacted Nichols in regards to this matter and he has stated that it is ‘inappropriate’ for any public party to comment on an ongoing doping case.

“It is inappropriate for WADA, and indeed others, to comment on the specifics of cases until the International Federation or National Anti-Doping Agency in charge with the result management of the cases has issued their decision.” Mr Nichols told Ubitennis.

Grindeks, the Latvian company that makes Meldonium, said yesterday that the drug could potentially ‘take months’ to leave a person’s body depending on other factors. This leaves the possibility that an athlete could have taken the substance in late 2015 (when it was legal) and still fail a drugs test in 2016. Nevertheless, Nichols stated that athletes have been given sufficient notice about banning the substance and if this scenario occurs, they will need to provide evidence.

The date an athlete sample is collected is the date any subsequent anti-doping rule violation is asserted to have taken place. At any hearing that follows, the onus is then on the athlete to explain how the substance was in his or her body.” He said.

Regarding the legitimacy behind the banning of the substance, Nichols has hit back at critics. He said WADA conducted a very detailed investigation in the substance and gave ‘all stakeholders involved’ a chance to speak about the substance prior to their decision to ban the drug.

“Meldonium was placed on WADA’s monitoring program for 2015, at which time it was being monitored for patterns of misuse”. The WADA head of media told ubitennis.
“During what was a very thorough consultation process in 2015, all stakeholders had the opportunity to submit their comments regarding meldonium”.

Nichols also stressed to Ubitennis that all WADA signatories was notified in September 2015 that the substance would be added to the 2016 list.

There can be no question as to the procedure that was followed, which established Meldonium as a banned substance as of 1st January 2016.” He later added.

Since the banning of Meldonium, there has been over 100 failed positive tests. Apart from Sharapova, other athletes include 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Yuliya Efimova (swimming) and 2013 European indoor 800 meter champion Nataliia Lupu (athletics).

WADA is currently appealing for more money to be invested in the organization. Their president, Craig Reedie, has called for extra funding for his organization to help tackle doping in sport. He has called for sponsors as well as broadcasters to help fund the WADA. Their current budget is approximately $26 million per year. To put this figure into perspective, BT Sport and Sky sports paid £5.1bn for live Premier League TV rights for three seasons from 2016-17.  This equates to $14.5 million per match.

One proposed idea in the fight against anti-doping is to fine the sponsor every time a athlete fails a drugs test. The idea is that if the sponsor was involved, it could act as a greater deterrent for athletes. Putting this idea to Nichols, he remained neutral on the idea, however, he said that ‘time has come’ to look for ways to increase WADA’s funding.

Regarding funding, the WADA President was very clear in his recent speech that he believes the time has come to look at other ways of increasing funding for anti-doping, including asking major sport sponsors to help fund clean sport”. Mr Nichols concluded.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Focus

Daria Kasatkina And Alejandro Davidovich Fokina Lead Calls For VAR In Tennis

There have been calls for VAR to be introduced into the sport.

Published

on

(@LadiesOpenPA - Twitter)

Daria Kasatkina and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina have called for VAR to be implemented in tennis.

The calls have came after Andrey Rublev was disqualified from his semi-final with Alexander Bublik in Dubai.

As Bublik lead 6-5 in the final set, Rublev shouted in the face of an umpire allegedly swearing in Russian which was picked up by one of the officials.

This saw Rublev be disqualified from the event with Bublik reaching the final in Dubai.

However as a result of the incident players have called for a VAR review system with the video showing inconclusive proof of whether Rublev did swear in Russian.

Leading the calls for such innovation are Daria Kasatkina and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina as the duo called for VAR to be introduced on twitter, “So you can just disqualify a player, take away all his points and money, without even checking the video? What a joke, yet another confirmation that we need VAR in tennis and an electronic appeal system in all tournaments,” Kasatkina said on social media.

VAR has been implemented in football and also a similar system in rugby with mixed results.

It’s clear though that more technology would help umpires identify whether a grounds for disqualification would be necessary.

So far VAR has been trialled at the Next Gen Finals and the Nitto ATP Finals.

Continue Reading

Focus

Casper Ruud Overcomes ‘Tough Start’ To Set De Minaur Final In Acapulco

Casper Ruud is into his first ATP 500 final after defeating Holger Rune in three sets.

Published

on

(@atptour - Twitter)

Casper Ruud is into his second consecutive final in Mexico after defeating Holger Rune 3-6 6-3 6-4 in Acapulco.

The Norwegian had to overcome an electric start from Rune to prevail in 2 hours and 24 minutes.

It was a clinical performance from Ruud who is now into his second consecutive final in Mexico after reaching the final in Los Cabos last week.

Speaking after the match Ruud admitted it was a tough start but he’s pleased to be in another final, “It was a tough start,” Ruud told the ATP website.

“Holger just came out firing bullets from the forehand, from the backhand and I had not too much time to play my game. I was frustrated at times, especially at the end of the first set, beginning of the second.

“I didn’t really feel like I got to play any points how I wanted to, so there was some frustration towards myself, towards my box, because I didn’t feel like we were doing the right thing.

“But luckily with one break in the second, it turned around a bit and in the third set it got a little physical. I think maybe Holger seemed like he was struggling a little bit and started firing even more and a couple of games it went in and he broke me, which is frustrating.

“Some unforced errors crept up on him and I served really well in the last game to close it out.”

Ruud is now into his first ATP 500 final in Acapulco where he will face defending champion Alex De Minaur.

De Minaur overcame Jack Draper after the Brit retired at 4-0 down in the deciding set.

Heading into Saturday’s final, De Minaur leads the head-to-head 1-0 although that was in a completely different scoring format in the Next Gen Finals.

Whatever happens on Saturday, Ruud will return to the world’s top ten.

Continue Reading

Focus

Andrey Rublev Disqualified In Dramatic Dubai Semi-Final

Andrey Rublev was disqualified from his semi-final in Dubai.

Published

on

(@desnan_98 - Twitter)

Andrey Rublev was disqualified from his semi-final with Alexander Bublik after being accused of swearing in Russian.

The event took place in Dubai where Rublev had more than enough opportunities to win the match having been 4-2 40-0 up in the deciding set.

However Bublik came back into the match as he caught up with Rublev in what was turning into a fascinating contest.

The score was at 6-5 Bublik when Rublev’s frustrations boiled over when he allegedly told the official at the side of the court that he was a ‘f****** moron’ in Russian.

One of the officials on the sidelines at the side of the court reported the incident and the supervisor ruled that Rublev should be defaulted.

The incident below means that Rublev will now lose all his ranking points and prize money, resulting in Rublev exiting the world’s top five.

An ending that didn’t warrant the dramatic contest and after the match Bublik agreed that the consequences, “I highly doubt Andrey said something crazy,” Bublik was quoted by Sports Illustrated.

“He’s not this kind of guy. But I guess that’s the rules. That’s what they did, they just follow the procedure.”

Bublik will hope for a smoother finish to the final when he takes on Ugo Humbert for the title.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending