ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Five of the six Ethiopian athletes suspended and under investigation for doping by the country’s authorities tested positive for the newly banned substance meldonium, the national track team doctor said on Friday.
Two of the six would have likely made Ethiopia’s team for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro “if they were clean,” Ayalew Tilahun told The Associated Press in an interview coinciding with a visit to the East African country by a delegation from the World Anti-Doping Agency.
Ayalew didn’t give any names or say what substance the sixth athlete tested positive for.
Ayalew did say delays in making the cases public are related to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s decision to obtain more scientific research on meldonium. Meldonium was banned from Jan. 1, but more research is needed to establish how long traces remain in the body. Athletes who have failed tests could have taken meldonium before it was put on WADA’s banned list.