Swedes pledge to clean up athletics as Aregawi's B test proves positive

Thu Mar 10, 2016 6:18am EST
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By Philip O'Connor

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - The Swedish Athletics Federation is considering several measures to clean up the sport after it emerged that runner Abeba Aregawi's B sample had tested positive for meldonium.

The B test confirmed the presence of the performance-enhancing substance, which led to the recent fall from grace of tennis star Maria Sharapova, the federation announced at a news conference in Stockholm.

"We need to ensure that no active athlete is taking something which is not OK," Sweden's track and field team manager Karin Torneklint said.

"We need to educate them and ensure that everyone has something like an 'anti-doping driving license.'"

Etiopian-born world 1500 meters indoor champion Aregawi was suspended by the federation and had her funding withdrawn on Feb. 29 following the positive test of her A sample, which was taken in Addis Ababa on Jan. 12 this year.

The federation was informed of the positive test for meldonium, which was on WADA's watch list in 2015 and added to the list of banned substances from Jan. 1, a month later.

"I have previously been given tablets by a doctor in Ethiopia which I thought were vitamins. It's my own fault that I took these tablets without checking," she told the federation in a statement.

When the result of the positive test became known, the athlete asked that her B sample also be tested, and the Swedish federation confirmed that traces of meldonium were found in it.   Continued...

Sweden's 1,500 metres indoor world champion Abeba Aregawi is pictured in Beijing in this August 25, 2015 file photo.  REUTERS/Jessica Gow/TT News Agency/Files