Maria Sharapova
Maria Sharapova

Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova will miss next month’s Rio Olympics after her appeal against an International Tennis Federation drugs ban was postponed until September.
The 29-year-old, who tested positive for meldonium in January, had hoped the Court of Arbitration for Sport could hear her case by July 18, the deadline for teams to be finalised for Rio.
But with both the ITF and Sharapova needing more time to prepare their cases, as well as scheduling conflicts, CAS has revealed its decision will not be delivered until September 19, a month after the Olympics and a week after the final grand slam of the season, the US Open.
Sharapova, who has won five Grand Slam titles and the silver medal at London 2012, was given a two-year suspension by an ITF disciplinary panel on June 6.
She argued that she had been using the Latvian-made heart disease drug under medical advice for a decade and had not realised it had been added to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) banned list on January 1 2016.
But the panel dismissed this explanation, pointing out that meldonium had been on WADA’s ‘watch list’ of controversial drugs for over a year and there had been numerous warnings to athletes about it becoming prohibited in late 2015.
It was also unimpressed with Sharapova’s secrecy about her use of meldonium, which is widely used in Eastern Europe but has never been licensed for sale elsewhere.
The highest-earning female athlete in the world appealed against the ITF decision on June 9, asking CAS to either overturn the ban entirely or reduce it.

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