27 May 2016

Banned Sharapova named in Russian Olympics team

8:44 am on 27 May 2016

The Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova has been named in Russia's Olympic team for Rio.

Maria Sharapova of Russia reacts during  match at the U.S. Open, 2014.

Maria Sharapova Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The five-time grand slam champion has been named to compete in the women's singles, despite being suspended from competition after testing positive for the banned substance melodium at January's Australian Open.

Russian officials say Sharapova has been included in the team which has to be announced by June 6th, but whether she competes or not will not be decided until later.

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) provisionally suspended the five-time Grand Slam champion on 12 March.

The World Anti-Doping Association (Wada) then admitted in April that scientists were unsure how long meldonium stayed in the system, suggesting athletes who tested positive for the substance before 1 March could avoid bans.

However, Sharapova has already admitted she continued taking meldonium past 1 January, when the substance was added to Wada's banned list.

She is thought to have faced an anti-doping panel in London last week, with the Russian Tennis Federation saying at the time that Sharapova may never play again.

But the organisation's president, Shamil Tarpischev, told R-Sport news agency on Thursday: "She has been put on our Olympic application. It has to be submitted by 6 June."

If London 2012 silver medallist Sharapova is not able to compete, she will be replaced by Ekaterina Makarova, the world number 29.