Maria Sharapova handed two-year ban for doping

Sharapova's suspension was back-dated to 26 January 2016.

Maria Sharapova handed two-year ban for doping

New Delhi: Ace Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova on Wednesday has been banned for two years after committing an anti-doping violation.

International Tennis Federation (ITF) confirmed the news via its Twitter handle.

Her suspension was back-dated to 26 January 2016 - the day she provided a urine sample after her quarter-final match at the Australian Open.

Sharapova tested positive for the controversial banned medication meldonium.

"An Independent Tribunal appointed under Article 8.1 of the 2016 Tennis Anti-Doping Programme (the "Programme") has found that Maria Sharapova committed an Anti-Doping Rule Violation under Article 2.1 of the Programme and as a consequence has disqualified the affected results and imposed a period of ineligibility of two years, commencing on 26 January 2016," said a statement on the ITF website.

Sharapova has been included in Russia`s Olympic squad. It wasn`t immediately clear what her fate would be regarding her participation in the quadrennial mega event.

"Today with their decision of a two year suspension, the ITF tribunal unanimously concluded that what I did was not intentional. The tribunal found that I did not seek treatment from my doctor for the purpose of obtaining a performance enhancing substance," Sharapova said in a statement posted on Facebook.

"You need to know that the ITF asked the tribunal to suspend me for four years - the required suspension for an intentional violation -- and the tribunal rejected the ITF`s position."

"While the tribunal concluded correctly that I did not intentionally violate the anti-doping rules, I cannot accept an unfairly harsh two-year suspension."

"The tribunal, whose members were selected by the ITF, agreed that I did not do anything intentionally wrong, yet they seek to keep me from playing tennis for two years. I will immediately appeal the suspension portion of this ruling to CAS, the Court of Arbitration for Sport," she added.

(With IANS inputs)

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