Doping scandals have continued to rock the sporting world over the years. Ahead of the Rio Olympics, the World Anti-Doping Agency is doing its best to keep the Games dope-free amid rising concerns against the effectives of the control systems in practise. Quite a few countries, accused of having flawed anti-doping programmes, are facing the grave danger of missing out on Rio Games. Kenya, Morocco, Ethiopia, Ukraine and Belarus have been placed under a ‘watch-list’ ahead of Rio Games. Russia are facing a potential Olympic ban after a widespread cover-up of doping. Quite a lot of athletes are under international agencies’ radar.On Wednesday, celebrated tennis star Maria Sharapova was banned after a failed drug test in February this month. Though Sharapova defended herself by saying she was not aware of meldonium being on WADA banned list. (Also read: Can’t accept a n unfairly harsh suspension, says Maria Sharapova) Here are some of the top sports personalities who were banned for failing drugs test.LANCE AMSTRONGLance Armstrong, who was one of the most successful cyclists, was banned for life after US Anti-Doping Agency report slapped doping charges. The Usada report said Armstrong had led the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen. The report was a shock to the sporting world that had seen Amstrong reach the pinnacles of success during his career. The celebrated cyclist, who had braved testicular cancer and went on to win seven Tour de France titles, was stripped off all the titles by International Cycling Union. The International Olympic Association also stripped him of his Sydney bronze medal. In 2013, in a television interview, he admitted to using banned performance enhancing drugs. advertisementMARTINA HINGISMartina Hingis clinched a Career Slam in mixed doubles after winning the French Open title with Leander Paes in 2016. The Former World No. 1, who has smashed quite a few records, has jhad her fair share of controversies as well.In January 2008, the tennis star was suspended for a period of two years for testing positive to a banned drug – benzoylecgonine. Notably, Hingis had come out of retirement twice in her career, once in 2002 and in again in 2013. After coming out of retirement for the second time, her association with Sania Mirza in the doubles category proved hugely successful. The Indo-Swiss duo won three of the four majors in 2015. SHANE WARNELegendary Australian leg-spinner was suspended for one year from cricket after he tested positive for a banned diuretic in 2003. Warne was sent back to Australia from South Africa a day before the opening day of the 2003 World Cup. Warne had appealed multiple times against his ban only to see Cricket Australia rejecting them. Warne returned to cricket in 2004 and was a mainstay in the Australian team till his retirement in 2007. SHOAIB AKHTARPakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar was one of the most controversial figures cricket has ever witnessed. Akhtar’s career was marred because of his rift with the Pakistan Cricket Board, with his teammates and other offences like ball tampering. However, the biggest setback in his career came when he was banned after a failed drug test. The Rawalpindi express was sent back home from India, a day before Pakistan’s opener, after being tested positive for a banned anabolic steroid nandrolone. Akhtar was suspended for two years by the PCB despite his appeals. JUSTIN GATLIN American sprinter Justin Gatlin was banned twice in his career for failing drug tests. In 2001, Gatlin was handed a two-year suspension after testing positive for amphetamines. Gatlin pleaded innocence saying he had never knowingly taken those drugs. In 2006, the United Anti-Doping Agency suspended the 2004 Olympic gold medalist for using the banned steroid. He was handed a four-year suspension in July 2006. The sprinter came back in 2010 and has been a fierce rival to Olympics medalist Usain Bolt.
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