Meldonium ban possibly 'politically motivated': Russia

Moscow, March 13 (IANS) Russia believed the decision by World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to add drug meldonium to the banned list was "politically motivated" to some extent, and it will request results of WADA's investigation into the substance. "I think there is a political overtone, but we have to find whether the decision (to ban the meldonium use) was made based on scientific researches," Xinhua cited Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich as saying on Saturday. The Russian government will officially request the results of WADA's investigation into the drug, he added. On Friday, the country's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said that the current doping accusations against Russian athletes was part of wider anti-Russian propaganda campaign. Ten Russian athletes have so far been embroiled in the meldonium use scandal including former tennis world No. 1 Maria Sharapova. Others involved are biathlete Eduard Latypov, cyclist Eduard Vorganov, figure skater Ekaterina Bobrova, speed skater Pavel Kulizhnikov, short-track speed skaters Semion Elistratov and Ekaterina Konstantinova, volleyball player Alexander Markin, as well as two unnamed Russian rugby players. Meldonium is also known as mildronate, which is used to treat diabetes and low magnesium. The decision to add it to the WADA's list of banned substances was approved in September 2015, and it came into force from this year.