5-times Grand Slam champion, Maria Sharapova announced earlier today that she failed a doping test at the Australian Open this year.
The Russian was charged on the 2nd of March testing positive for Meldonium, a drug she has been taking for the past 10 years due to health issues. However, WADA listed Meldonium as a prohibited substance at the beginning of this year.
Sharapova admitted that she did not keep herself updated with regards to the new banned list.
“I did fail the test and take full responsibility for it,” Sharapova told BBC.
“For the past 10 years I have been given a medicine called mildronate by my family doctor and a few days ago after I received a letter from the International Tennis Federation (ITF), I found out it also has another name of meldonium, which I did not know,” said Sharapova, who won the Wimbledon title as a 17-year-old in 2004.
“It is very important for you to understand that for 10 years this medicine was not on WADA’s banned list and I had been legally taking that medicine for the past 10 years,” said Sharapova.
“But on 1 January the rules had changed and meldonium became a prohibited substance, which I had not known. I received an email on 22 December from Wada about the changes happening to the banned list and you can see prohibited items and I didn’t click on that link,” she added.
“I made a huge mistake,” she said. “I have let my fans down, and let the sport down that I have been playing since the age of four that I love so deeply.
“I know that with this I face consequences and I don’t want to end my career this way. I really hope to be given another chance to play this game,” she explained.
But while some individuals have publicly criticized her for it, quite of number of fans have taken to Twitter to show their support for an athlete they believe is ‘innocent’.
Always by your side @MariaSharapova
— mayur vibhandik (@MayurVibhandik) March 8, 2016
Brave of @MariaSharapova to come clean on the ongoing proceedings! I hope she's given a chance to redeem herself!
— Rajiv P (@iRajivvv) March 8, 2016
I hate performance enhancing drug users and even I don't think Maria Sharapova should be punished. I believe the story. #tennis
— Julian Spivey (@julianspivey44) March 8, 2016
— Samantha Barrell (@samantha_2093) March 8, 2016
Feel like muting "Maria Sharapova" until all this blows off. People are even making fun of her. Mean, Mean, Mean.
— Matsobane C-137 (@Madtzoo) March 8, 2016
— Utpal (@FoodieRunner42) March 8, 2016
WHAT DO WE THINK?
Irrespective of what she says, athletes should always be responsible for anything that enters their body, even if a substance if provided by a trusted aide. She’s been taking this drug for 10 years now, but the drug has been tested by WADA from last year. Had she kept herself updated, it would have been a lot easier to stay away from it, the moment it was banned. However, no conclusions should be drawn until the investigations are over.