Russian sports minister, Vitaly Mutko, has said that 27 Russian sportspeople have failed tests for meldonium, the banned drug which hit the headlines after tennis player Maria Sharapova revealed she had tested positive. These are reported to include two track cyclists, of whom one is a former world champion.
Earlier this year, Katusha rider Eduard Vorganov tested positive for meldonium and TASS now reports two positive tests by track cyclists – 2012 points race world champion, Anastasia Chulkova, and Pavel Yakushevsky, who was bronze medallist in the team sprint at the 2013 European Track Championships.
An anonymous source said to be familiar with the situation told TASS: "A couple of days ago, we learnt that meldonium was found in Yakushevsky’s and Chulkova’s doping tests. These are the only two cases in the track cycling team. All the other athletes are clean."
The team’s chief coach, Sergei Kovpanets, declined to comment.
Classified by the World Anti-Doping Agency as a ‘hormone and metabolic modulator,’ meldonium has been banned since January 1. Insidethegames.biz reports that there have been 123 cases involving the drug around the world. Mutko said that 27 involved Russian athletes.