The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

MARIA SHARA­POVA (car­i­ca­ture) had her twoyear ten­nis ban for dop­ing re­duced to 15 months by the Lau­sanne-based Court of Ar­bi­tra­tion for Sport (CAS) yes­ter­day. The 29-year-old Rus­sian tested pos­i­tive for the banned med­i­ca­tion mel­do­nium dur­ing Jan­uary’s Aus­tralian Open, but the world’s top sports court cut the ini­tial two-year ban by nine months. In its verdict the CAS “found that Ms Shara­pova com­mit­ted an anti-dop­ing rule vi­o­la­tion and that while it was with ‘no sig­nif­i­cant fault’, she bore some de­gree of fault, for which a sanc­tion of fif­teen months is ap­pro­pri­ate”. Shara­pova openly ad­mit­ted she had been tak­ing mel­do­nium for 10 years to help treat ill­nesses, a heart is­sue and a mag­ne­sium de­fi­ciency. She also claimed it had en­tirely es­caped her at­ten­tion that the prod­uct had been added to the banned sub­stance list pub­lished by the World Anti-Dop­ing Agency (WADA) on Jan 1, just be­fore the Aus­tralian Open. The ini­tial ban was im­posed by an in­de­pen­dent tri­bunal ap­pointed by the In­ter­na­tional Ten­nis Fed­er­a­tion and the re­duced ban fol­low­ing her ap­peal means the Rus­sian, who has spent most of her life in the United States, will be free to re­sume com­pe­ti­tion at the end of April 2017.

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