Tennis superstar Maria Sharapova has been named in Russia's tennis team for the upcoming Rio Olympics 2016 despite being provisionally suspended for failing a doping test. Sharapova had tested positive for taking the banned drug meldonium at the Australian Open earlier this year in January.
"We will include Sharapova in the team, which we need to announce by 6 June. Whether she competes or not should be decided by the end of the first week of Roland Garros," said Shamil Tarpishchev, the International Olympic Committee member and president of the Russian Tennis Federation, as quoted by the Guardian.
The 29-year-old was included in the team alongside Svetlanad Kuznetsova, Anastasia Paylyuchenkova and Daria Kasatkina. If Sharapova is not able to compete, her place in the team will be taken by Ekaterina Makarova, the fifth ranked Russian women.
Russia has been rocked by doping scandals of late including allegations by a former head of the country's anti-doping lab, Grigory Rodchenkov, who claimed that that there was a doping cover-up scheme that involved at least 15 medallists at the 2014 Sochi Games, as well as the sports ministry and the FSB security service.
The powers that be in Russia are also looking to reinstate the country's athletic federation that was suspended in November over evidence of state-sponsored doping and mass corruption in Russian track and field discipline. The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) will meet next month to rule on whether Russia should participate in the Rio Olympic games which take place in August.