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Published: 16:36 | 8/6/16

Sharapova banned for two years

Former world number one guilty of doping offence

Former world number one Maria Sharapova has been banned from tennis for two years following an ITF anti-doping hearing.

Sharapova tested positive for the drug meldonium at both January's Australian Open and again February out of competition in Moscow.

Meldonium, which as been banned since the beginning of 2016, is contained in Mildronate which the 29-year-old Russian said she had been taking for many years to treat magnesium deficiency and potential signs of diabetes.

However, an independent tribunal found her guilty of committing a doping offence and, despite ruling that it was "not intentional", claimed that the player bore "very significant fault" for the positive test.

It further suggested that she should have informed the authorities that she had been taking the drug and should not have attempted to conceal her use of it.

In that respect, the tribunal said, she was "the sole author of her own misfortune".

The ban has been backdated to January 26th, the date of the original test, and Sharapova has been stripped of the Aus$281,633 in prize money she earned at the Australian Open.

Sharapova has the option to appeal.

By: Kieran O'Daly

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