Aregawi has Rio hopes dashed after meldonium ban lifted

Sun Jul 17, 2016 7:49am EDT
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By Philip O'Connor

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Abeba Aregawi will not be selected for next month's Rio Olympics despite having her doping suspension lifted following a positive test for meldonium, the Swedish Athletics Association (SAA) said on Sunday.

Aregawi has not competed in 2016 due to her suspension, which was lifted on Thursday, but still hoped to be included in Sweden's Olympic team.

SAA general secretary Stefan Olsson, however, said in a statement that uncertainty surrounding Aregawi's "medical and physical status and environment" would have to be clarified before she could be considered for selection.

Team coach Karin Torneklint added that the SAA committee's decision meant that the Ethiopian-born 26-year-old would not be nominated for Sweden's Olympic squad.

Aregawi's doping suspension was lifted after the Swedish Sports Confederation said it had not been proven that she had taken meldonium after it was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) list of banned substances on Jan. 1.

The former 1500m world champion was suspended by the SAA in February following a positive test for meldonium, from a sample taken in Addis Ababa on Jan. 12 this year.

WADA said in April, however, that positive tests could be overturned due to a lack of clear scientific information on how long the drug takes to be excreted from the body.

Aregawi ran for Ethiopia at the 2012 London Games, but began competing for Sweden later that year after being granted citizenship.   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