Russia calls for protecting 'clean athletes'

Moscow: Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich has called for protecting "clean" athletes as the country's sports community has been dragged into an alleged doping scandal. "The situation around doping is restless. We should have tackled it seriously before. Now the main task is to protect those who are not guilty," Dvorkovich said on Saturday,. On Friday, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said 27 Russian athletes, including the five-time grand slam champion Maria Sharapova, have so far been tested positive for using meldonium, a drug banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) this year, Xinhua news agency reported. Meldonium, also known as mildronate, is used to treat diabetes and low magnesium.  WADA considers the drug to be a metabolic modulator that increases athletes' endurance and shortens post-exercise rehabilitation time, as well as enhances central nervous system activation.