World 1500m champ Aregawi suspended after positive drugs test

Aregawi celebrates at the 2014 1500m Diamond League in Shanghai. Photo credit: Getty Images

A spokesman for the Swedish Athletics Federation has confirmed that 25-year-old 1500m world champion Abeba Aregawi tested positive for a banned substance in an out-of-competition test conducted by the IAAF.

Due to defend her title at the World Indoor Championships in Portland, Oregon next month, Aregawi has requested a B sample be tested and a full investigation will be conducted.

The Ethiopia-born Swede ran for Ethiopia at the 2012 London Olympics but began competing for Sweden later that year after being granted citizenship.  

Aregawi won gold at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow and 2014 World Indoor Championships in Sopot. There is no suggestion her performance during these events is under scrutiny, but her suspension means her place in the Swedish team for the Rio Olympics in August is in doubt.

In a statement, the Swedish Olympic Committee (SOC) chief executive Peter Reinebo said: ‘The situation regarding her place on the Olympic team is in quarantine as we wait for the result of the B test.’

In a statement her manager Jos Hermens expressed his surprise at the news.

'We can't understand it,' he said. 'We are trying to work out what has happened. It's very strange.'

Stefan Olsson, general secretary of Sweden's national federation said: 'It is with dismay and extreme disappointment we have to make this statement.

'We are totally opposed to all forms of cheating, doping and illicit substances. We have zero tolerance and this is totally unacceptable.'