Reports: Russian U-18 team replaced due to positive meldonium tests

AP
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Details are still emerging, but it’s been reported that the entire Russian team that was headed for the under-18 World Championship in Grand Forks has been replaced due to positive tests for the banned substance meldonium.

The head coach of the team has also reportedly been fired.

Russian sports writer Slava Malamud shares more via Twitter:

Meldonium is the same drug that Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova tested positive for.

The World Anti-Doping Agency only recently added the drug to its list of banned substances.

From the New York Times:

Meldonium is most commonly used in Eastern European and ex-Soviet countries as a drug for people with heart conditions, but it’s also offered for sale online. There are also signs that a sizable minority of athletes were using before it was banned.

The World Anti-Doping Agency monitored the effects and use of meldonium before announcing in September that it would be declared a banned substance from Jan. 1, 2016.

WADA declared the decision on its website more than three months before the ban, and it was also announced by the Russian anti-doping agency.

Russia is scheduled to open the tournament next Thursday against the United States at Ralph Engelstad Arena.