We come back to speak about doping cases again, and when it's about a young player, it's always a sad news. Arsan Arashov, a 17-year-old from Kazakhstan born in March 2000, was banned by an Independent Tribunal for two years after being found guilty of an Anti-Doping Rule violation.
The ban started on 30 September 2016, the day where he got provisionally suspended, and will end on 29 September 2018 at midnight. On 9 July 2016 Arashov, who is currently not ranked and got his career-high at No. 1,744 in 2015, provided an urine sample during an ITF event in Gandia.
That sample was sent to the WADA-accredited laboratory in Montreal, Canada for analysis, and was found to contain meldonium, which is a metabolic modulator which is prohibited since 2016. On 20 September 2016, Arashov was informed of his failed drug test, and a few days after, on 29 September, he wrote a letter to ITF as follows: 'Some time ago I had problems with health.
I felt weakness and had to go to the doctor. The doctor gave the receipt with the names of medicine. I think meldonium was in it but I didn’t know… If there is chance to do without a disqualification I will be very grateful, and from now on I will be very careful when choosing a medication for treatment.' What he said in the letter is completely different than what he said in the hearing that took place on 10 February 2017, where he denied having ingested Meldonium. He also denied that anyone had advised him to ingest Meldonium.
He had been on medication prior to 9 July 2016, but none of that medication (set out in a prescription which was produced to the Tribunal) contained any Meldonium. Furthermore, Arashov asserted that (if he was found guilty of the Charge) there had been No Fault or Negligence on his part.
He contended that the bottles of water from which he drank at the doping control station both on 8 and 9 July 2016 (which were left in an unsecured situation such that third party access was possible) could have been contaminated with Meldonium.
ITF was unable to establish the source from which the Meldonium was ingested by Arashov, who was sanctioned on the basis that he had unwittingly ingested Meldonium contained within a contaminated water bottle. Anyway, there is much contradiction between what he wrote in the letter and what he said in front of the Indipendent Tribunal, and so although he took Meldonium without being aware of it, he was banned for two years.
He would have got banned for four years only if he had done it intentionally, which wasn't the case. Also, his results, ranking points and prize money at the 2016 Tourneo Playa de Gandia have been cancelled. It's curious that as you can see here below, he trained with Novak Djokovic on Wednesday in Monte Carlo and posed with Andy Murray on Thursday.