Ethiopian-born Swedish runner Abeba Aregawi, the 2013 World 1500m champion, failed a drug test and has been suspended indefinitely, putting her Rio Olympic chances in jeopardy.
Aregawi tested positive for an undisclosed substance in January, according to Swedish media. She is banned pending an investigation and analysis of a B sample
“It is with dismay and with extreme disappointment that we report this issue,” Swedish track and field federation general secretary Stefan Olsson said in a statement translated by Reuters. “We totally reject all forms of cheating, doping. … We have a zero tolerance, and this is totally unacceptable.”
Aregawi, 25, ran the fastest women’s 1500m at the London Olympics, when she represented Ethiopia, but it came in the semifinals.
She finished fifth in the slower final won by Turkey’s Asli Cakir Alptekin, who was stripped of the gold medal last year for doping.
In 2013, Aregawi switched to Sweden and won six of the nine Diamond League 1500m races plus the World Championship in a dominating season. U.S. Olympian Jenny Simpson took silver behind Aregawi at Worlds.
In 2014, Aregawi was overtaken as the world’s best 1500m runner by the Ethiopian-born Dutchwoman Sifan Hassan and Simpson.
In 2015, Aregawi won zero Diamond League races and finished sixth in the World Championships, won by Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba, who also broke the world record last year.