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Anti-doping expert urges athletes to stay informed of newly-banned drugs

By Sun Xiaochen ( Updated: 2016-03-13 14:35

A Chinese anti-doping specialist urged athletes and coaches to stay informed of all updates to the World Anti-Doping Agency's drug list in the wake of Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova's doping case.

Wu Moutian, former deputy director of the China Anti-Doping Agency, said timely checks of the agency's annual updates on newly-banned drugs would allow athletes to avoid accidentally taking forbidden substances.

The agency typically publishes an updated list of prohibited substances each September and the new rules take effect at the beginning of the next year. "Some substances that used to be allowed are added to the prohibited list upon every update because of newly found evidence that they could boost athletic performances," Wu said.

Wu made the remarks a few hours on Tuesday after Sharapova, a five-time Grand Slam winner, announced that she failed a drug test at the Australian Open in January due to meldonium, a substance which she has been using for 10 years for health issues.

The International Tennis Federation announced later that it had provisionally suspended Sharapova from competition, starting on Saturday.

Meldonium, also known as mildronate, is used to treat diabetes and lack of magnesium. The anti-doping agency announced in September that it would be included in its banned list, starting on Jan 1.

"Meldonium was added to the Prohibited List because of evidence of its use by athletes with the intention of enhancing performance," an official statement said.

Wu, who was in charge of the anti-doping laboratory during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, said athletes should be aware that some medicines they have been using legitimately for health reasons can be banned.

"Everyone who may concerned in the sports circles should keep an eye on the updates," Wu said.

To help Chinese athletes, who are preparing for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in August, China's anti-doping agency published the latest banned drug list on its own website in December. It identified all newly-banned substances, including meldonium.

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