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Sharapova’s Doping Ban Reduced by Nine Months

  • VOA News

FILE - Tennis star Maria Sharapova speaks during a news conference in Los Angeles on Monday, March 7, 2016.

FILE - Tennis star Maria Sharapova speaks during a news conference in Los Angeles on Monday, March 7, 2016.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport has reduced from two years to 15 months, tennis star Maria Sharapova's doping ban.

Switzerland-based CAS said Tuesday that Sharapova “bore some degree of fault'' for the positive test “for which a sanction of 15 months is appropriate.''

CAS’s decision means that Sharapova will be able to return to competition at the French Open in in April.

"I have gone from one of the toughest days of my career last March when I learned about my suspension to now, one of my happiest days, as I found out I can return to tennis in April (2017)," Sharapova said on Facebook.

The 29-year-old Russian, a five-time Grand Slam champion and former No. 1 tennis player in the world, tested positive for the banned medication meldonium at January's Australian Open and the ban took effect from January 26, 2016. She appealed to CAS in June.

“I have taken responsibility from the very beginning for not knowing that the over-the-counter supplement I had been taking for the last 10 years was no longer allowed,” Sharapove said. “But I also learned how much better other Federations were at notifying their athletes of the rule change, especially in Eastern Europe where Mildronate is commonly taken by millions of people.”

After doping revelations, about one third of Russia’s national Olympic team of 387 were barred from the Rio Olympics in August, with the largest group in track and field, where 67 were ruled out when the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld a ban on the Russian team.

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