By Philip O’Connor
STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Sweden’s former 1500m world champion Abeba Aregawi hopes to compete at the Rio Olympics after the Swedish Doping Commission lifted her suspension for testing positive for meldonium.
The Swedish Sports Confederation said on Thursday that her suspension had been lifted with immediate effect as 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 Ethiopian-born 26-year-old was suspended by the Swedish Athletics Federation in February following a positive test for meldonium, from a sample taken in Addis Ababa on Jan. 12 this year.
WADA admitted 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 now wants to be reinstated in the Swedish Olympic team.
“I haven’t managed to compete this year, so if it’s OK to run on last year’s times I want to compete,” she told broadcaster SVT.
“But because I haven’t heard anything from the Swedish Olympic Committee I don’t know if I can compete.”
Aregawi ran for Ethiopia at the 2012 London Games, but began competing for Sweden later that year after being granted citizenship.
She won the world outdoor 1500 title in 2013.
The Swedish Sports Council and the country’s Olympic Commmittee will now meet to consider Aregawi’s case for reinstatement for next month’s Games in Rio.
“A place at the Olmypics is based on sporting merit and form and we have no idea of Abeba’s status at this time,” Swedish athletics team coach Karin Torneklint told news agency TT.
(Reporting by Philip O’Connor; Editing by Toby Davis)