clears Lepchenko following meldonium explanation
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[September 21, 2016]
(Reuters) - American Varvara
Lepchenko is clear to play again after she was found to shoulder "no
fault or negligence" for an anti-doping rule violation, the
International Tennis Federation (ITF) said on Tuesday.
The world number 79 tested positive for banned substance meldonium,
added to the World Anti Doping Agency's (WADA) prohibited list on
Jan. 1, during an in-competition test at the 2016 Brisbane
International, and on three subsequent occasions.
The Uzbekistan-born player was provisionally suspended in March but
successfully appealed against her ban on the grounds that the
meldonium traces came from tablets she stopped taking "on or around
20 December 2015".
The ITF, on the advice from WADA, said Lepchenko's samples were
consistent with her account.
"It was accepted by the ITF that Lepchenko bore no fault or
negligence for the violation and that any period of ineligibility
that may otherwise have been imposed is eliminated entirely...," the
ITF said in a statement.
"The results that Lepchenko obtained at the 2016 Brisbane
International event are automatically disqualified..., and the
points and prize money that she won are forfeit."
"This presence violation will be disregarded for sanctioning
purposes in the event that Lepchenko commits any further anti-doping
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Varvara Lepchenko of the United States hits a forehand against Ana
Konjuh of Croatia (not pictured) on day six of the 2016 U.S. Open
tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Russian five-times grand slam champion and former world number one
Maria Sharapova is the sport's highest-profile athlete to be banned
after testing positive for meldonium, a drug designed for heart
conditions that increases blood flow.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) is set to rule on
Sharapova's appeal against a two-year ban in the first week of next
(Reporting by Nivedita Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by John
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