Aregawi and Latypov in meldonium net too

Ethiopia-born Swedish runner Abeba Aregawi risks a suspension of up to four years.
Ethiopia-born Swedish runner Abeba Aregawi risks a suspension of up to four years.

STOCKHOLM • Swedish runner Abeba Aregawi and Russian biathlete Eduard Latypov have become the latest athletes to test positive for meldonium - the same substance that tennis star Maria Sharapova was caught taking.

Aregawi's agent, Jos Hermens, told the Swedish broadcaster SVT on Wednesday that her B sample confirmed the findings of the initial failed test two weeks ago.

Hermens said Aregawi, who was born in Ethiopia but now represents Sweden, was cooperating with investigators from the International Association of Athletics Federations .

He added that she took the medicine, which was banned on Jan 1 by the World Anti-Doping Agency, thinking it was a vitamin supplement.

Aregawi, 25, the 2013 world 1,500m champion, now risks a suspension of up to four years.

She assumed responsibility for the doping on Wednesday.

"I previously received pills from a doctor in Ethiopia. I thought they were vitamins. It's my own fault that I took these pills without checking," she said in a statement released by the Swedish Athletic Association.

Yesterday, the Russian Biathlon Federation said Latypov, the world junior champion last year, returned a positive sample at the IBU Cup, a level two biathlon event, last month.

The 21-year-old is not competing in the world biathlon championships currently taking place in Oslo, and will be suspended awaiting a B sample.

Aregawi and Latypov join an ever-growing list of sportspeople to have tested positive for the drug this year.

Others include the 2015 Tokyo Marathon champion Endeshaw Negesse, Ukrainian biathletes Olga Abramova and Artem Tyshchenko, as well as Russian ice dancer Ekaterina Bobrova.

THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 11, 2016, with the headline 'Aregawi and Latypov in meldonium net too'. Print Edition | Subscribe