<
>

IAAF lifts doping ban for meldonium on Bulgarian Petrova

Gabriela Petrova tested positive for meldonium in February. FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images

Bulgarian triple jumper Gabriela Petrova has seen her doping ban lifted by the IAAF despite testing positive for meldonium.

Last week, the World Anti-Doping Agency announced an amnesty for athletes who failed drugs tests for the banned substance before March 1.

Petrova, who won silver at the 2015 European indoor championships in Prague, claims she stopped taking meldonium in September, despite failing an out-of-competition test on February 6.

"I can breathe with ease now," Petrova, who withdrew from the world indoor championships in Portland last month, is quoted as saying by Reuters. "This is the notice I've waited so long for."

Meldonium has been on the banned list since the turn of the year but WADA admitted last week that it could not determine how long the substance stayed in the body.

WADA subsequently announced that less than one microgram of meldonium in samples given before March 1 would be acceptable.

"On the basis of Wada's notice issued on 11 April 2016 with respect to meldonium findings and the specifics of your case, the provisional suspension from international competitions imposed on 31 March is lifted with immediate effect," the IAAF wrote to Petrova, according to Reuters.

The IAAF confirmed to ESPN that Petrova's ban had been lifted. "The IAAF lifted the provisional suspension of Petrova but the disciplinary proceedings are stayed as per WADA's recommendations," a spokesman said.

At least 14 athletes from Russia and Georgia, including Georgian Olympic silver medallist wrestler Davit Modzmanashvili, saw bans overturned on Friday following the new ruling from WADA.

There have been at least 172 positive samples for meldonium since it was made illegal on January 1, most notably tennis star Maria Sharapova, while one study claimed 490 athletes had taken the substance at last year's European Games in Baku.

Meldonium is designed for people suffering from heart problems, boosting blood flow and increasing oxygen intake into the body which aids faster recovery.

Former world No.1 Sharapova claims she used the drug due to a family history of heart problems and diabetes, but has been provisionally suspended by the International Tennis Federation.