|Maria Sharapova announced her failed drug test on Monday (Picture: Getty Images)|
Disgraced tennis star Maria Sharapova was warned five times about Meldonium being banned, according to latest reports.
The 28-year-old revealed on Monday that she had tested positive for the illegal substance, which she has been taking for ten years.
According to the Telegraph, Sharapova faces further question marks now after she was warned repeatedly by authorities against taking the drug.
The Russian had previously claimed that she was unaware of its change in status, but this has been met with criticism from World Anti-Doping Agency founding president Dick Pound.
‘All the tennis players were given notification of it and she has a medical team somewhere. That is reckless beyond description,’ he said.
What is Meldonium?
It is used medically to treat ischemia, or a lack of blood flow.
It can be used as a metabolic enhancer to increase endurance through greater blood flow.
The Institute of Biochemistry – Center for Preventive Doping Research, German Sport University Cologne said of the drug: ‘Anti-ischemic drug Mildronate demonstrates an increase in endurance performance of athletes, improved rehabilitation after exercise, protection against stress, and enhanced activations of central nervous system (CNS) functions.’
It was added to WADA banned list on January 1, 2016.
The drug was added to the banned list because the World Doping Anti-Agency said there ‘evidence of its use by athletes with the intention of enhancing performance.’