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Two Russian rugby players suspended for failed dope test

World Rugby, the international governing body of rugby union, has suspended two Russian players from all competition following notification of potential anti-doping rule violations, the organisation reported on its website.

Alexei Mikhaltsov, a member of the national men’s sevens squad, and his wife Alena, a member of the national women’s squad, were suspended on Saturday after testing positive for the prohibited substance Meldonium, reports Tass.

The Russian Rugby Union has also suspended the the couple from its events.

Russian sports was hit this week by a new case in a chain of doping-related scandals after some of the country’s athletes tested positive for banned substance Meldonium.

The drug Meldonium, also known as Mildronate, was included in the list of preparations banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) from January 1, 2016, after which several Russian athletes have tested positive for the banned substance.

Those in Russia who have proved to have used Meldonium, besides the Mikhaltsovs, are cyclist Eduard Vorganov, figure skater Yekaterina Bobrova, tennis player Maria Sharapova, skater Pavel Kulizhnikov, short-track skaters Semion Elistratov and Ekaterina Konstantinova, volleyball player Aleksandr Markin and biathlete Eduard Latypov.

Russia believed the decision by WADA to add drug meldonium to the banned list was “politically motivated” to some extent, and it will request results of WADA’s investigation into the substance.

“I think there is a political overtone, but we have to find whether the decision (to ban the meldonium use) was made based on scientific researches,” Xinhua cited Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich as saying on Saturday.

The presence of Meldonium in the athlete’s blood during and between competitions is a violation of anti-doping rules. The substance belongs to S4 class on the WADA blacklist (hormones and metabolic modulators).

The decision to add it to the WADA’s list of banned substances was approved in September 2015.
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