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Maria Sharapova’s tennis ban slashed

Tennis ace and model Maria Sharapova will be back on the court sooner than expected after winning an appeal against her ban from the sport.
Officials at the Court of Arbitration for Sport have reduced Maria’s two-year suspension to 15 months, and the 29-year-old can return to play in April (16), making her eligible to compete in the 2017 French Open.
The three-member CAS panel rejected some of the conclusions reached by International Tennis Federation bosses this summer, who handed out the suspension for Sharapova’s use of banned drug meldonium.
“I’ve gone from one of the toughest days of my career last March when I learned about my suspension to now, one of my happiest days, as I found out I can return to tennis in April,” the star writes in a statement.
“In so many ways, I feel like something I love was taken away from me and it will feel really good to have it back. Tennis is my passion and I have missed it. I am counting the days until I can return to the court.”
Sharapova failed a drug test at the Australian Open in January (16) for taking meldonium, which was added to the banned substances list within the past year.
She appealed the ITF’s suspension, and the CAS panel heard her appeal in New York last month (Sep16).
Sharapova maintains she did not realise meldonium had been banned, and her lawyers argued that officials at the ITF and the World Anti-Doping Agency did not do enough to warn players.
The tennis star revealed she had been taking the drug for more than 10 years. At the ITF tribunal, lawmakers found Sharapova’s violation of anti-doping rules not to be intentional, but added, “She does bear sole responsibility for the contravention, and very significant fault, in failing to take any steps to check whether the continued use of this medicine was permissible… She is the sole author of her misfortune.”

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