Since this story has hit the media, I have seen a lot of comments in favour of the tennis star suggesting she should “get of lightly” and she is not really a Drug Cheat, but I believe that if you consider the facts Sharapova should not get any preferential treatment when it comes to the sanctions which will be handed out.
What the Drug Does
According to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), meldonium acts as a “metabolic modulator.” It improves sports performance by stopping the carnitine activities and stops the mitochondria from being overloaded by fatty acid breakdown during exercise and instead shifts the focus towards breaking down carbohydrates, which requires less oxygen to be taken away from muscles. By reducing the pressure on the mitochondria, meldonium reduces the amount of urea and lactate in the blood and allows for improved oxygen transport to the muscles to aid not only in performance but in recovery.
This is a big advantage for athletes, especially when it come to training recovery, if you can recover faster then you can train harder and make faster improvements in your sport whether it is Tennis or Powerlifting.
Sharapova had ample notice
Sharapova was plenty of time to either get of the drug or to obtain a TUE (more about TUEs in a moment). Former World Anti-Doping Agency [Wada] president Dick Pound stated that “Any time there is a change to the list, notice is given on 30 September prior to the change,” in addition to this notice, the drug was on the monitoring list for a full year prior to being banned. When a drug is on this monitoring list there is always a distinct possibility that will go on to be added to the banned list. Ignoring the notices is no excuse for a lenient drug ban to be imposed.
If you have a medical condition that requires Use of a medication or other product containing a substance or method that is on the 2016 Prohibited List, a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) is required. A TUE permits you to use the prohibited medication or method without committing an Anti-Doping Rule Violation, providing that all such use is in accordance with the conditions of the TUE.
This applies to all sports subject to WADA, including tennis Tennis TUE policy
So if Sharapova did genuinely need this medication for a health condition, then why did her medical team not submit the appropriate paperwork ?
So what has this got to do with Powerlifting ? The IPF is like the Tennis, subject to the WADA drug rules, powerlifters get caught out every year taking substances which are on this banned list, it might not make the news like tennis but is just as much a career killer as it is for the tennis star. The key point is to stay up to date with what is on the list, if you are taking supplements or medication, get them checked, phone the available hotlines or check the website eg Check your Substance . If it is on the list and it is prescribed by your doctor, then you need to discuss alternate medication or get yourself a TUE.