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Russian Maria Sharapova picked for Russia's Rio 2016 Olympics tennis team - despite drugs ban

Russian Tennis star Maria Sharapova has been selected by the Russian tennis Federation to join its team to partake in the Rio Olympics this summer despite being banned from Tennis by the WTA for taking a banned performance enhancing substance during January's Australian Open.

“We will include Sharapova in the team, which we need to announce by 6 June,” said Shamil Tarpishchev, ­president of the Russian Tennis Federation (RTF).
“Whether she competes or not should be decided by the end of the first week of Roland Garros.”
The 28 year old former Wmbledown champion earlier this year revealed she had been taking a banned substance but didn't know it was banned because she didnt open an email sent to her by the WTA.
"I received a letter from the ITF that I failed a drugs test at the Australian Open," said Sharapova. "I take full responsibility for it.
"For the past 10 years I have been given a medicine called mildronate by my family doctor and a few days ago after I received the ITF letter I found out that it also has another name of meldonium which I did not know.
"It is very important for you to understand that for 10 years this medicine was not on WADA's banned list and I had legally been taking the medicine for the past 10 years.
"But on January 1 the rules had changed and meldonium became a prohibited substance which I had not known."
"I take great responsibility and professionalism in my job every day. I made a huge mistake. I've let my fans down, I've let this sport down," 
"I know that with this I face consequences and I don't want to end my career this way and I hope that I will be given another chance to play this game again.
Sharapova was suspended from competitions as of March 12 and the International Tennis Federation has not considered her case yet.
Source: Russia's official news Agency, TASS.

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