March 8, 2016 / 12:50 PM / a year ago

Meldonium detected in Russian speed skaters Elistratov and Kulizhnikov - R-sport

Russia's Semion Elistratov (184) leads skaters during a men's 1500 metres heat at the World Short Track Speed Skating Championships 2010 at Winter Sport hall in Sofia, March 19, 2010.Oleg Popov/Files

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian Olympic short-track speed skating gold medallist Semion Elistratov and five-time world champion speed skater Pavel Kulizhnikov have tested positive for the drug meldonium, the R-Sport news agency reported on Tuesday.

R-Sport did not say how it had heard about Elistratov's test but quoted Kulizhnikov's father Alexander as saying his son had learned about his positive result "a few days ago".

"Pasha (Pavel) had no reason to take the illegal drug, he was the best anyway," Alexander Kulizhnikov said.

Reuters could not immediately verify the information.

On Monday, Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova revealed that she had tested positive for meldonium, a substance that the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) banned as of Jan. 1.

Reporting by Lidia Kelly; Editing by Kevin Liffey

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