Russia to probe possible meldonium 'provocations' against its athletes

Sat Mar 12, 2016 11:17am EST
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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia has said there are "political overtones" in the decision by the international anti-doping agency WADA to ban the drug meldonium use, and that it will investigate whether positive tests among its sports stars could have been "provocations".

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich told Russia's R-Sport agency that law enforcers were already investigating how meldonium had got into the bodies of Russian skaters. He said each case would be examined to establish whether competitors were to blame or "provocation by unknown persons", according to R-Sport.

Russian sporting figures found to have taken meldonium since a ban came into force on Jan. 1 include figure skater Ekaterina Bobrova, speed skater Pavel Kulizhnikov and short-track speed skaters Semion Elistratov and Ekaterina Konstantinova.

(Writing by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich speaks during an interview at the Reuters Russia Investment summit in Moscow, Russia, September 29, 2015. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov