Tamerlan Tagziev, the 34-year-old Russian-born Canadian wrestler who won gold in the 86-kilogram division at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, has been given a four-year ban after testing positive for meldonium.
Traces of meldonium were found in Tagziev's urine in an in-competition test in May, and having failed to engage in the results process, the CCES, Canada's anti-doping agency, banned the Canadian wrestler from training and competition until Aug. 9, 2020.
"In accordance with the Canadian Anti-Doping Program (CADP), if an athlete does not engage in the results process, the anti-doping rule violation and sanction are confirmed by way of a deemed waiver," the CCES explained.
Meldonium is a Latvian heart medicine meant to improve blood flow, and was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency's list of banned substances in January 2016. Anti-doping experts say Meldonium enhances athletic performance by increasing endurance and speeding up recovery time, but its performance-enhancing effects are highly debated.
Tagziev is not the first Russian-born athlete to test positive for meldonium, as the drug played a major role in the recent ban of Russian Olympians and Paralympians. The Russian Paralympic team is banned from participating in next month's Paralympic Games in Rio, and was also barred from competing in the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
The most notable case of meldonium doping is Russian tennis superstar Maria Sharapova, who was handed a two-year ban despite using the medication for the previous 10 years to reportedly boost her immune system.
Interestingly, a number of athletes have had suspensions lifted following positive tests for meldonium when only a small trace of the drug was detected. Athletes who have tested positive for the banned substance since March 1, 2016, can still possibly avoid a ban if less than one microgram is discovered.
Tagziev, who emigrated from Russia in 2009 and resides in Toronto, has competed for Canada since 2012, having won silver at the 2013 Pan American Championships and bronze at the 2015 Pan Am Games, along with his Commonwealth gold.