Famed tennis player Maria Sharapova admitted to failing a drug test for Meldonium at the Australian Open in January. The Latvian drug manufacturing company, says the medicine treatment can go from 4 to 6 weeks in order for the drug to do its job, but Sharapova claimed to use the drug for over 10 years on a press conference held on Monday in Los Angeles.

Now, the five-time Grand Slam champion is under menace of losing her sponsors as well as its credibility as a worldly tennis figure. The substance known as Meldonium is supposed for heart issues as it improves blood flow but due to recent positive tests on many athletes for the drug the World Anti-Doping Agency decided to ban the substance this year.

Meldonium gives a boost to healthy people’s health performance as it aids the body’s oxygen uptake as well as its endurance. Photo: Business Insider

However, Sharapova allegedly first consumed the substance 10 years ago and although she credits the drug use to several health issues going on the tennis player’s life at the time, it doesn’t justify a prolonged use of the substance. The Latvian drug manufacturer Grindeks describes Meldonium as a heart medicine and patients suffering from respiratory deficiency and circulatory conditions.

“Depending of the patient’s health condition, treatment course of Meldonium preparations may vary from four to six weeks,” said Latvian company Grindeks to The Associated Press in an interview. “Only physicians can follow and evaluate patient’s health condition and state whether the patient should use Meldonium for a longer period of time.”

But honestly, 10 years seem as an exaggerated period of time to treat a heart condition or circulatory problems. So it may be the end of Sharapova’s career for at least a couple of years, depending on the measures taken by the International Tennis Federation.

Positive Results Worldwide

As of now, the 28-year old tennis sensation will be provisionally suspended from March 12. It appears as if Sharapova’s courage to announce she failed a drug test has inspired other athletes to come clean as well. Russian speed skater and World Champion Pavel Kulizhnikov has also failed a doping test for Meldonium although the date and location of the supposed drug testing remains a mystery.

21-year old Pavel is also a five-time world champion as he has won five gold medals since 2015. Pavel allegedly took the substance capable of improving the oxygen take when it was still legal, according to his coach Dmitry Dorofeev. Also, the dancer Ekaterina Bobrova tested positive in a drug test as she announced on Monday in a press release.

Bobrova is a former European champion who won the gold medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics alongside her Russian team. In addition to Bobrova and Pavel, there was another athlete confirmed to use Meldonium in February. World champion Abeba Aregawi also tested positive for the substance created by Latvian company Grindeks, according to the New York Times.

So apparently the heart medicine Meldonium is commonly used amongst word champions in different disciplines around the world. There’s no wonder the World Anti-Doping Agency banned this substance since January 1, 2016. The real question is why it wasn’t banned much sooner considering the drug has been reported to be used by athletes as far back as 2006.

Source: ESPN