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Russian, Latvian Hockey Players Love Sharapova Drug, Maker Once Touted

A Eurasianet partner post from RFE/RL

The obscure drug revealed in Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova's failed doping test at the Australian Open was once touted by its Latvian maker as a pharmaceutical staple of top Russian and Latvian ice hockey players.

Kirovs Lipmans, owner and chairman of the Latvian drug manufacturer Grindeks, told the Latvian portal Delfi.lv in a 2011 interview that meldonium, a recently banned performance-enhancing substance also known as mildronate that Sharapova this week admitted to taking, was "very popular among athletes."

"I know that the Russian national ice hockey team don't even come to training camps without mildronate, to say nothing of Latvian national team players," Lipmans, who has served as president of the Latvian Ice Hockey Federation since 1998, said in the interview.

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Copyright (c) 2016. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

A Eurasianet partner post from RFE/RL

Russian, Latvian Hockey Players Love Sharapova Drug, Maker Once Touted

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