London - Some 490 athletes, including 13 medallists, may have taken
meldonium -- the drug responsible for tennis star Maria Sharapova's failed dope
test -- at last year's European Games in Baku, according to research published
on Wednesday in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
was placed on the World Anti-Doping Agency's list of banned substances on
January 1, with the research, carried out on behalf of the European Olympic
Committees, contributing to the global watchdog's decision.
findings were based on information volunteered by athletes and their medical
teams as well as anti-doping tests given at the European Games last June.
medallists were found to have been taking meldonium and the drug was detected in
athletes competing in 15 of the 21 sports.
is not the only Russian sports star to have fallen foul of the new status of
meldonium, Russian media said on Tuesday.
state-run agency TASS reported that volleyball international Alexander Markin,
speed skating world champion Pavel Kulizhnikov and short track Olympic champion
Semen Yelistratov have also tested positive for Meldonium.
Sharapova confess to having failed a dope test at the Australian Open in
January, with Russian ice dancer Ekaterina Bobrova's positive test for
meldonium revealed earlier on Monday.
world number one Sharapova said the change in WADA's banned drugs list for 2016
led to an inadvertent violation, for which she will be "provisionally
suspended" by the International Tennis Federation.
said she originally began taking meldonium for a variety of symptoms, including
a tendency to become ill often, an irregular EKG heart test and a family
history of diabetes.
is used to treat heart trouble, including angina and heart failure.
it to the banned list, WADA said there was evidence it has been used by
athletes with the intention of enhancing performance.
But its use
since it became a prohibited substance has not been solely a Russian problem,
with Sweden's Abeba Aregawi, originally from Ethiopia, the world 1500 metres
champion in 2013, Ukrainian biathletes Olga Abramova and Artem Tychtchenko, the
Ethiopian marathon runner Endeshaw Negesse and six Georgian wrestlers also
returning positive tests.