Prague, April 12 (CTK) – Wrestler Petr Novak is the first Czech athlete to have tested positive for the banned substance meldonium, Petr Vurbs, spokesman for the Czech Wrestling Association, told the web iDnes.cz yesterday.
“The sample was taken outside a competition, when the national team was getting ready for an Olympic qualifier,” Vurbs said.
Novak, 27, competes in the weight class under 75 kilograms. In 2014, he was eleventh at the world championship in Tashkent.
“The drug containing meldonium was recommended to me as a heart protection when I felt I might contract a flu, but I needed to train before the competition at the European Games in Baku last year,” Novak said.
“I never used it regularly, but last December, when I was getting ready for January contests, I used it again for a flu,” he added.
“Personally, I feel sorry not only because my Olympic dream has vanished and perhaps my whole career will be over, but also because of the bad light cast on me and wrestling as a sport,” Novak said.
“This was certainly not any deliberate doping,” Novak said, adding that he did not have enough information on meldonium being listed as a banned substance.
“Meldonium is in the group of serious doping substances. There is a four-year ban,” Michal Polak, from the Czech Anti-Doping Committee, has told the web iSport.cz.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) listed meldonium as a banned substance on January 1.
Athletes use meldonium as a performance-enhancing substance as it enables the compensation of shortage of oxygen if there is a big physical burden.
Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova, swimmer Yulia Yefimova and speed skaters Semyon Elistratov and Pavel Kulizhnikov as well as Abeba Aregawi from Sweden have tested positive for meldonium.