Uzbek Powerlifter Avoids suspension for Meldonium use

Photo: IPC Powerlifting

Uzbek powerlifter Raza Kuzieva has been sanctioned by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) following a doping violation, the IPC announced on Wednesday. Kuzieva was found to have trace amounts of meldonium in her system.

Meldonium has been a controversial addition to the banned substance list and at the time of Kuzieva’s positive test it was only on the banned substance list for five weeks. Meldonium is commonly used in medications, and is the substance that Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova was banned for taking.

Despite the breach in the IPC doping code the IPC has determined that due to the breach being only trace amounts, perhaps showing that the Uzbek had stopped using the substance since it was added to the list and her body had not finished flushing it from her system, Kuzieva will not serve a suspension. She will still be faced with a penalty and all her results from 2016 have been erased.

This is the second time that Kuzieva has been found to breach the anti-doping code, yet the IPC decided that there was no fault on Kuzieva’s part. As such, the suspension which would be standard in such an instance will not apply, but Kuzieva must surely be on thin ice with the doping authorities now.

With such a lenient sentence Kuzieva has agreed to the sanctions given to her, meaning there will be no trial that could have risked an actual suspension. Kuzieva came third at the event she tested positive at, the IPC Powerlifting World Cup event in Dubai, and as such Indonesian lifter Rani Puji Astuti will receive the bronze medal from that event.

With the ban every other result since February 16th 2016 has been erased, including that bronze medal which has since been returned. Despite that she will not serve a suspension and is free to continue her career, however surely a third violation, even one as minor as this one will surely lead to a lengthy ban from competition.

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