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Belarus Tennis Player Escapes Ban Despite Positive Drug Test

A tennis player from Belarus has escaped punishment after testing positive for meldonium, the same substance found in Maria Sharapova's sample at the Australian Open.

The International Tennis Federation said on April 29 that doubles player Sergei Betov will not face a ban because the concentration in his sample taken on January 21 was less than the prohibited level set by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Betov, 28, was provisionally suspended on March 12, but the federation has now ruled it was "more likely than not" that he tested positive because he took a course of meldonium tablets in October, before the drug was banned on January 1.

"Betov did not know, and could not have known or suspected, even with the exercise of utmost caution, that the meldonium would still be in his system" by the time of the Australian Open, the federation said.

Sharapova was not eligible for the same lenient treatment because the concentration of meldonium in her sample was above the level set by WADA.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP

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