CAS reduces Maria Sharapova’s drug ban to 15 months

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) reduced Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova’s two year suspension to 15 months on Tuesday after her appeal in June.

Sharapova, 29, was banned for two years by the International Tennis Federation after testing positive for meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open.

Meldonium, marketed as Mildronate, is a heart disease drug used to treat a lack of blood flow. The drug was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency's list of banned substances on January 1, 2016.

Sharapova said she had taken Mildronate for more than 10 years and was not aware that the substance had been banned.

During the proceedings, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) accepted Sharapova's explanation, but argued that by taking the medication she "knowingly and manifestly disregarded" the risk of breaking anti-doping rules, and thus the federation considered it an intentional violation.

Sharapova filed an appeal at the CAS against the Independent Tribunal’s decision on June 9, arguing that she had not taken the drug to enhance her performance and that her period of ineligibility should be reduced due to “No significant Fault.”

The five time Grand Slam winner will be able to return on April 26, 2017 making her eligible to compete at the 2017 French Open.

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