Home Business Kamila Valieva to skate at Winter Olympics despite failed drugs test

Kamila Valieva to skate at Winter Olympics despite failed drugs test

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Kamila Valieva, the teenage Russian figure-skating prodigy, can contest the women’s individual event at the Winter Olympics after a tribunal upheld a decision to allow her to compete while appealing a positive drug test result.

The ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport on Monday was a victory for the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (Rusada) against the International Olympic Committee and the World Anti-Doping Agency. It was issued a day before the start of the individual women’s event in Beijing, in which the 15-year-old Valieva is heavily favored to win. She was part of the Russian Olympic Committee team that won last week’s team figure skating event.

The verdict has set the stage for the most controversial Olympic figure-skating event in 20 years after a judging scandal in 2002 forced an overhaul of the sport. It has also added tension to a dispute between the Russian team and the IOC, which banned the nation in 2017 for its state-sponsored doping program at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games.

The CAS held a five-and-a-half-hour video hearing between the appealing parties – the IOC, Wada and the International Skating Union – and the Russian Olympic Committee, Rusada and Valieva.

The arbitrators found on “the very limited facts of this case” that “preventing the athlete from competing at the Olympic Games would cause her irreparable harm in these circumstances” and that there were serious issues of untimely notification of the results of the athlete’s anti -doping test ”, which were not the fault of the skater.

Wada said it was not notified by Russian officials that the case was a “priority sample when it was received by the anti-doping laboratory in Stockholm, Sweden. This meant the laboratory did not know to fast-track the analysis of this sample ”.

Valieva tested positive for banned heart medicine trimetazidine in a screening collected by Rusada on December 25. The results were delivered on February 8, a day after Valieva and ROC won their event.

Monday’s ruling by CAS was exclusively concerned with a specific decision by Rusada, under whose jurisdiction the positive test fell, to allow Valieva to continue skating and training at the Olympics while her doping case was processed.

Under Wada rules, Valieva is allowed to appeal her positive doping ruling with a test of her “B” sample, collected on the same date as the original, a process that normally takes weeks.

The IOC on Monday took the extraordinary step of canceling the medal ceremonies for both the team figure skating, in which the US finished second, and the individual women’s competitions, the latter in the event that Valieva finished in the top three when the event ends on Thursday.

Citing the fact that anti-doping authorities have yet to definitively conclude if she had broken the rules, the IOC said it would co-ordinate “dignified medal ceremonies” once the matter had concluded.

The CAS decision did not offer a judgment on the outcome of the team figure skating event and whether Valieva’s results would be upheld or disqualified.

Sarah Hirschland, chief executive of the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee, said the decision “appears to be another chapter in the systemic and pervasive disregard for clean sport by Russia”.

“Athletes have the right to know they are competing on a level playing field. Unfortunately, today that right is being denied, ”she added.

The IOC did not comment immediately.

The ROC applauded the ruling on Twitterwriting that “the whole country” would cheer for Valieva and her teammates in the women’s event on Tuesday.

The Valieva case has prompted controversy at the Games.

“The adults around her have completely failed her. They’ve put her in this awful situation and should be punished, ”Adam Rippon, a coach for US skater Mariah Bell, who will compete against Valieva, wrote on Twitter after the positive test was announced.

He added that the IOC’s ban on Russia’s participation in the Olympics “was NOT strict enough”. Russian athletes have been permitted to compete at the Games as the “Russian Olympic Committee”.

Russia has mounted a stout defense of Valieva, who appeared distraught in some practice sessions in Beijing.

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