Varvara Lepchenko Cleared In Meldonium Doping Case
by Staff | September 21st, 2016, 10:30 am

American Vavara Lepchenko was cleared of her doping violation for taking meldonium, the ITF announced today.

The 30-year-old tested positive for the drug four times in January, February, March and April but she successfully argued that the drug was in her system from using it BEFORE the 2016 ban. And she didn’t take it again after December 20.

“Lepchenko made a successful application to the Chairman of the Independent Tribunal established to hear the case to have her provisional suspension lifted,” the ITF stated. “This was on the grounds that the meldonium present in her samples came from a course of Mildronate tablets that she stopped taking on or around 20 December 2015. WADA published a second Meldonium Notice on 30 June 2016, on the basis of which WADA advised the ITF that the concentrations found in Ms. Lepchenko’s samples are consistent with her account of pre-1 January 2016 use.

“Accordingly, it was accepted by the ITF that Ms. Lepchenko bore no fault or negligence for the violation, and that any period of ineligibility that may otherwise have been imposed is eliminated entirely under Programme Article 10.4.”

Lepchenko was provisionally suspended on March 12. She didn’t play again until May leading many to speculate she had been serving a “silent ban”.

Meanwhile, Maria Sharapova’s appeal case was pushed back again and will be determined by the CAS early in October. Unlike Lepchenko, Sharapova continued to take meldonium after the ban was in place at the start of the year. She is appealing a 2-year suspension.

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5 Comments for Varvara Lepchenko Cleared In Meldonium Doping Case

Travis Bickle Says:

So if ITF accepts that Varvara took the drug last time in 2015 when it was legal, that means she was unjustly suspended in March!!!
She should be compensated by ITF for the loss of income for the time she was not allowed to play tennis and earn her living. Any lawyer worth his salt should be able to use this verdict and milk ITF for lots of money on behalf of Varvara…

Dennis Says:

So, it’s OK for her to take it but Sharapova gets banned for 2 years? WADA is a joke.

PJ Says:

Dennis, why is it a joke. Lepchenko had decreasing amounts in her system, implying that she stopped taking the drug before the beginning of the year. No one should be punished for taking a substance that was legal at the time. Sharapova never let anyone know she was still taking the substance after it was banned. This is the like the Russian hackers who have been releasing data from the Olympics. All it proves is that many of the athletes whose privacy was invaded were following the rules.

If nothing else, Travis brings up a good point. People will be suspended for situations that are out of their hands. If you stop taking a drug right before it is banned, it will still be in your system. That concept has to be addressed, as I doubt this has been the first (or will be the last) time something like this has happened.

John Johnson Says:

The real joke is to suspend anyone for two years for a drug that was just banned and a drug that many players used just before it was banned. Sharapova is pretty much being penalized for being upfront. No matter how anyone feels about Sharapova (I know she’s one of the most widely disliked athletes for reasons fair and unfair) there is something egregiously shady about ITF. I still suspect had Sharapova never held that press conference we would have never heard about a suspension and it definitely wouldn’t have been 2 years.

Tommy Says:

Maria being punished by WADA and ITF for being too honest by holding that press conference and if she’s an American, all these would have been swept under the carpet. Lol

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