Romanian runner Elena Mirela Lavric, a member of Romania’s bronze-winning relay team at the World Indoor Championships in Portland (March 16 – 20), tested positive to meldonium, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) concluded in an official note of the to the Romanian Athletics Federation (FRA), the national authority’s secretary-general Ion Buliga confirmed for Agerpres.
On the other hand, president of the Romanian Athletics Federation Ion Sandu told the Prosport newspaper that, just short before entering the competition, several athletes, including Romanians Mirela Lavric and Bianca Razor, were subjected to an unannounced doping control in Portland, and no positive case had emerged back then.
“I had a discussion with Mirela and her coach. It’s a hard to manage situation. The young lady admitted having done so at the prescription of doctor Vasile Osean. She took this medicine last time in December. The doping tests conducted in Portland revealed nothing. The tests were conducted by IAAF. It was her, Razor … the FRA only found out on March 7 that this drug is on the list of prohibited substances. It’s not known for how long this drug remains in the body. I think there is a lack of communication between the doctors and athletes. I cannot tell you what sanctions she risks, but it is clear a suspension is looming. Probably someone is hiding something, that’s all I can say. It’s strange. All we can do is investigate and have them make a statutory declaration that they haven’t taken such substances, or if they did, what the respective drugs were. We don’t have other weapons or levers,” said Ion Sandu.
Since the coming in force on January 1 of the new 2016 WADA Prohibited List, which also includes meldonium, worldwide and primarily in the former Soviet Union – where Mildronate, the drug containing the banned substance was produced (specifically in Latvia) – more than 140 athletes tested positive; Russian tennis star Maria Shararapova was among the first.
The International Biathlon Union, however, recently announced having halted temporary suspensions for this substance, as there is no reliable data on its retention in the body, which creates a special situation. Specifically, Ukrainian biathletes Olga Abramova and Artem Tyshchenko admitted having used meldonium, but in December, when it wasn’t banned.
The International Biathlon Union said on April 5 that it referred the situation to the World Anti-Doping Agency, which started an investigation to clear the issue of the time the substance needs to be eliminated from the body. “The results are expected to come in September 2016 at the latest,” said IBU.