Let’s talk: Is Maria Sharapova’s tennis ban too harsh?

It’s so disappointing as a sports fan to find out that some of your favourite players or the most successful

It’s so disappointing as a sports fan to find out that some of your favourite players or the most successful in the sport have won their accolades whilst doping. One of these sporting champions is Maria Sharapova who today was banned for two years from the sport by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) after failing a drug test.

The tennis player tested positive for meldonium at Australian Open and now will miss Wimbledon and the Rio Olympics

Sharapova tested positive for the controversial banned medication meldonium during January’s Australian Open, reports the ABC.

“An independent tribunal appointed under Article 8.1 of the 2016 Tennis Anti-Doping Programme has found that Maria Sharapova committed an anti-doping rule violation under Article 2.1 of the programme, and as a consequence has disqualified the affected results and imposed a period of ineligibility of two years, commencing on 26 January 2016,” a statement on the ITF website said.

“The ITF accepts that the player did not engage in conduct that she knew constituted an anti-doping rule violation.

“She was the sole author of her own misfortune,” it said.

Sharapova said she would appeal the ban at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

“While the tribunal concluded correctly that I did not intentionally violate the anti-doping rules, I cannot accept an unfairly harsh two-year suspension,” Sharapova wrote.

“The tribunal, whose members were selected by the ITF, agreed that I did not do anything intentionally wrong, yet they seek to keep me from playing tennis for two years.”

Sharapova is not allowed to played until midnight on January 25, 2018.

“I have missed playing tennis and I have missed my amazing fans, who are the best and most loyal fans in the world,” she wrote on her Facebook page.

“I have read your letters. I have read your social media posts and your love and support has gotten me through these tough days.

“I intend to stand for what I believe is right and that’s why I will fight to be back on the tennis court as soon as possible.”

Sharapova was once the world’s highest-paid female athlete and is one of the most recognisable.

But not everyone thinks that the ban was unfair – Australian legend Pat Cash come out saying that two years isn’t enough.

“She clearly knew and her doctor [knew] that it was performance enhancing,” Cash told ABC 702 Sydney.

“She’d been taking it for a long time. It’s quite simply cheating, its a very special chemical and its very tough to get.”

“She’s made a mistake, but my gut feeling is if you’re a professional athlete and you know you’re taking a performance-enhancing drug, which clearly she was – then two years, I think she got off pretty lightly in that respect,” he said.

The 1987 Wimbledon champion question the strength of the drug. “How much does it help her get through those hot days in Australia, those long matches in the stinking heat of New York, or wherever else it happened to be,” Cash asked.

“She’s going to be able to recover much better than the other athletes. How many matches has this helped her win? It wasn’t on the banned list but it was performance-enhancing”.

It’s certainly an interesting debate.

What do you think? Should Maria Sharapova be banned for two years? Is it too harsh or too lenient?

  1. Too harsh?? good grief this girl has been taking this stuff for ten years since she started seriously playing tennis that must tell you something. She is a cheat and like everyone else who cheats she should be banned; 2 years is not long enough. What about all those she has beaten how do you think they feel knowing that her victory was hollow because she cheated and they had to lose to someone who did that! The Russians cheated in their sports they lost their entitlements and medals so too should she. This is wrong to say two years is enough it is not enough and if I were one of her opponents I would be having something to say about it.

  2. Jo Ellery  

    She should be banned for life as should anyone who cheats at anything.

  3. Catherine  

    Maria Sharapova is an elite sportswoman at the top of her sport. Ignorance is no excuse at this level. She should absolutely be banned. It is her business to know what she is taking and to know the list of banned substances.

  4. Rosalind Sanders  

    The ban too harsh?? C’mon! Does Queen Sharapova think that because it’s her, she should just be given a slap on the wrist?? Maria, suck it up. Anybody else who cheated would be treated the same. It’s going to be nice to be able to watch women’s tennis without the awful grunting from her. Can’t stand the woman!!

  5. Well, Essendon players were banned for taking something they were given and that has dragged on forever!. Perhaps WADA or ASADA should also look at Maria and add their own bans to the 2 years she has been given. And I also feel cheated for all the players she has beaten while taking performance enhancing drugs. I don’t think 2 years is long enough – she should be made to return all trophies and all prize money and it should be distributed to those she beat. Her actions have changed history. And while we’re on it, perhaps the EPA should get involved and fine her for noise pollution. At least now, I can turn the volume back up while I watch the tennis. Career over Maria, ban her for life!

  6. Everyone else who has been caught taking banned substances is thrown out, so why not this woman? She has been apparently taking this drug for ten years and that would leave her opponents with very bitter feelings. Of course she should be chucked out!

  7. eva kabwa  

    Sharapova is a cheat if indeed the drugs were for a medical reason due to familiy history bla bla bla then why take them mainly before matches.Does diabetes strike before or during matches and how come she didnt disclose it to any one apart from 3 pple and the Russian Doctor? Why not fill on the Anti doping forms about the drug.And why didmt she want her sample to be taken for research.If you have been following, Maria didnt play any matches after Australian Open quarter finals (after she was checked) because she knew that she was busted and instead of nullyfying her results she decided not to play until March while waiting for the results.What a coincindence.So Maria knew exactly what she was doing but wanted to win grand slam so badly that she took a risk because checking is random.Do you have to go to Russia to buy a drug when you reside in the US and the drug is not approved in the US so the US Drug authority should also charge her.Maria is not sorry she did it she is sorry she was caught.

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