The International Tennis Federation, in conjunction with the World Anti-Doping Agency, announced today that Sugarpova has been added to its list of banned substances, effective June 9, 2016. The ITF acknowledged that several professional tennis players have been consuming the substance for a few years now, but warned players that they will heretofore be tested for it, and if they are found positive, they will face suspension from the WTA and ATP.
Sugarpova is a fairly new substance, having been introduced in
2012 by a candy company owned by professional tennis player Maria
Sharapova. However, its prototype, gummy candy, has been popular for a
very long time. Generally consumed as “bears” or “worms,” gummy candy
contains a high concentration of various forms of sugar.
Sugarpova, specifically, contains sucrose, corn syrup and
dextrose, all of which, the ITF claims, can provide athletes a big jolt
of energy that can enhance their performance on court.
Asked about the legality of using other candies such as Haribo
Gold-Bears, Sunkist Fruit Gems or Swedish Fish, ITF spokespeople
repeated a statement from WADA that research was ongoing and that
players should check their email accounts constantly because--at any
moment--they might have to be tested for consuming Albanese Worms or
Gummy Killer Sharks.
Not surprisingly, there have been questions about why a
particular gummy candy, Sugarpova, has been placed on the banned list
while hundreds of others are still considered legal substances. WADA's
response was that an unusually large number of Russian and other eastern
European athletes were consuming Flirty, Sporty and Quirky, and that
this consumption had "aroused suspicion."
Sharapova, who is currently involved in a legal battle with the
ITF, refused to comment when asked about the decision to place
Sugarpova on the list of banned substances. However, when told that a
French tennis player had recently described her as "a cheater," the
five-time major champion became philosophical and implied that those
words could soon be regretted.
"Surely," Sharapova said, "you don't believe that Kiki "Macaron
Breath" Mladenovic hasn't consumed sucrose. I assure you she has.
"However," the Russian star added as she made her exit, "it certainly didn't enhance her performance."