Poland are one of five countries to have quota places reinstated ©UWW

United World Wrestling (UWW) has reinstated places in next month's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro to several countries whose athletes tested positive for meldonium, they have announced.

Places were stripped following drug test failures at the European and Asian qualifying tournaments, but the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has since announced updated guidance regarding the substance.

The places were initially withdrawn from nations in May, in line with UWW’s anti-doping rules and the instructions issued by WADA at the time.

WADA gave new guidance earlier this week, however, and extended the period during which athletes may escape punishment for meldonium failures from March 1 to September 30. 

Under the new guidance, athletes who provided a urine sample which returned a positive test for the heart-attack drug between January 1 and February 29 can also be given a “no fault” verdict if their sample contained less than five micrograms of meldonium.

This marks an increase from the previous set of guidelines published by WADA, which stated if below one microgram of meldonium was detected and the failed test came before March 1, a negligence or no fault verdict could be reached.

The news could lead to more athletes who have tested positive for the drug, manufactured in Latvia, avoiding a suspension from their respective sport.

It has also led to further criticism of WADA which has been attacked for banning meldonium when the amount of time it remains in the body was unclear.

Poland’s Magomedmurad Gadzhiev and Ukraine’s Andriy Kvyatkovskyy had tested positive for meldonium at the European Olympic Games Qualifying Tournament in Serbian city Zrenjanin, resulting in their country losing a spot in the freestyle 65 kilograms.

The quota places were given to Georgia and Armenia as a result, with the award to Georgia resulting in the United States ultimately gaining a place from an Olympic Games World Qualifying Tournament, following readjustments.

Gadzhiev had appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport against the decision to remove his Olympic and his case was heard in Lausanne yesterday. 

Countries who were awarded places after the initial adjustment have not been affected by the reinstatements ©UWW
Countries who were awarded places after the initial adjustment have not been affected by the reinstatements ©UWW

In Greco-Roman, Zhanarbek Kenzheev of Kyrgyzstan failed at the Asian Olympic Games Qualifying Tournament in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana, with India receiving the quota. 

Mongolia’s Sumiya Erdenechimeg failed at the same event to see the country lose a women’s 53kg freestyle place and Ukraine lost a 58kg spot after Oksana Herhel provided a positive test.

The beneficiaries were India and Moldova respectively.

The National Olympic Committees (NOC) to have lost places as a result of the positive tests have now had their spots reinstated by UWW after the latest guidelines.

It was also confirmed by the governing body that all NOCs previously granted Olympic qualification spots - including those to benefit from the meldonium failures - will not be impacted by the latest adjustment.

It remains to be seen how the Olympic tournaments will work with more wrestlers competing than initially planned.

The adjustments have not seen 125kg wrestler Alen Zasieiev, who failed a test for meldonium, earn his country a spot as Ukraine went on to secure their Olympic allocation during the second World Qualifier in Istanbul.