London: Five-time Grand Slam winner Maria Sharapova will appear in front of an anti-doping panel in London on Wednesday after taking the banned drug meldonium.
The tennis fraternity was shocked after the Russian had returned a positive test for meldonium, a Latvian-made heart medication which was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency's (Wada's) banned list from January 1.
Athletes use Meldonium to strengthen endurance to physical strains during training sessions as well as for easing emotional, nervous and psychological stresses at competitions.
The maximum term of disqualification for meldonium use is 4 years. The disqualification period is calculated from the date of temporary suspension - as of March 12 in Sharapova’s case. A tennis player, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and WADA have the right to appeal the decision in the course of 21 days since the moment the notification is received.
Sharapova is the winner of five Grand Slam tennis tournaments. She has also won a Federation Cup final as part of the Russian national team. She is also a woman singles silver medalist at the London Olympic Games. All in all, Sharapova has won 38 tennis tournaments, including 35 in singles. The 2016 Olympic Games will take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on August 5-21.
(With Agency inputs)