Illegal drug meldonium could be planted on three Russian athletes deliberately, and the Russian Skating Union (RSU) intends to prove it, RSU President Alexei Kravtsov said, RIA Novosti reports.
According to Kravtsov, the circumstances, in which two Russian speed skaters - Semyon Elistratov and Pavel Kulizhnikov - were tested positive for meldonium (mildronant), look very suspicious.
"In this particular case, there is a very high probability that the prohibited drug was planted on the athletes deliberately. We have reasons to believe that it was done by their colleagues in the team," said Kravtsov.
In addition to the speed skaters, Russian skater Ekaterina Bobrova and volleyball player Alexander Markin were also excluded from competitions.
The use of meldonium in sports received international attention attention after Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova admitted to the use of meldonium during Australian Open tournament. Sharapova stated at a press conference that she was entirely responsible for what happened.
Meldonium is a metabolic agent that normalizes energy metabolism in cells exposed to hypoxia or ischemia. The drug supports energy metabolism of the heart and other organs.
In 2012, meldonium was included on the list of vital and essential medicines. On January 1, 2016, the use of meldonium was banned in sports.
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Russia has been deprived of the right to hold international competitions and apply for them for four years