Kamila Valieva: Russian anti-doping agency cleared teenage figure skater to compete in Olympics despite failed doping test

Valieva, 15, a Games star who helped the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) win gold in Monday’s figure skating team event, was cleared to compete despite testing positive for the heart drug prohibited, trimetazidine, which is commonly used. to treat people with angina, the ITA said in a statement.

The failed test was only revealed during the Winter Olympics, and it remains unclear whether the doping test controversy will see the medal revoked.

The scandal continues to delay the awarding of medals to the three teams, silver for the American team and bronze for the Japanese team.

“The decision on the results of the ROC team in the team figure skating event can only be made…after a final decision on the merits of the case has been made,” the ITA said. .

The case will be heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), with a decision needed before the figure skating star’s next event – the women’s singles short program – on Tuesday, in which she is favorite to win gold.

During this hearing, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will challenge the decision of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) to lift the provisional suspension of the skater, according to the ITA.

Responding to the controversy, the ROC said Valieva had “repeatedly taken doping tests” while already in Beijing, adding that it was taking steps to keep Valieva’s “honestly earned” gold.

“The doping test of an athlete who tested positive does not apply to the period of the Olympic Games. At the same time, the athlete repeatedly passed doping tests before and after December 25, 2021 , including when he was already in Beijing during the figure skating tournament. . All results are negative,” the ROC statement read.

“The Russian Olympic Committee is taking comprehensive measures to protect the rights and interests of ROC team members and to retain the honestly won Olympic gold medal.”

Russian Kamila Valieva attends a training session on February 11, 2022.

Why was Valieva allowed to compete?

The ITA, which runs the anti-doping program for the Beijing Winter Olympics, said Valieva’s drug sample was taken at the Russian Figure Skating Championships in St Petersburg on December 25.

However, it wasn’t until February 8 that a Swedish lab reported that it had detected a banned substance – a day after the ROC won gold in the team event in Beijing.

According to the ITA, Valieva tested positive for trimetazidine, a drug used to treat angina, which causes chest pain due to poor blood flow to the heart. It is on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List.

Hormonal and metabolic modulators are a class of drugs banned by the WADA due to evidence that athletes use them to improve performance, as they can increase blood flow and improve endurance.

Trimetazidine: a drug prohibited by WADA allows

Valieva was immediately provisionally suspended by the Russian anti-doping agency, which automatically bans athletes from participating in all sports.

The figure skater challenged the suspension on Feb. 9, and in a hearing the same day, Russia’s anti-doping agency decided to lift the interim ban, allowing her to continue competing at the Olympics, according to the ITA.

At 15, Valieva is underage and therefore considered a “protected person” under the World Anti-Doping Code, which means her name does not need to be released to the public.

The ITA said it released its identity following media reports naming it based on “unofficial information”, and the ITA said it “recognizes the need for official information due to heightened public interest”.

Valieva of Team ROC skates during the Women's Team Free Skating event on Day Three of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics at Capital Indoor Stadium on February 7, 2022 in Beijing, China.

The IOC “looks at the entourage”

Russian athletes cannot compete in the Olympics under their country’s name due to IOC and WADA sanctions following the country’s “systemic manipulation” of anti-doping rules during the 2014 Sochi Games.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, IOC spokesman Mark Adams said the governing body wanted to “speed up” the deal.

“We hope the whole issue can be expedited for the benefit of every athlete, not just Russians, but also for the benefit of all competing athletes,” he said.

As Valieva’s case continues to be reviewed, Adams referenced the work of the IOC “Entourage committee.”

According to the Olympic website, this commission “advises the IOC Session, the IOC Executive Board and the IOC President on the support and protection of clean athletes”.

“We realized some time ago that it is very, very important that all the people, the coaches, the doctors and everyone around the athlete – it is important that they also have their responsibility,” said said Adams on Friday.

“And by the way, we don’t just look at the athletes involved in these cases, we look at the entourage. It’s very important, but I really don’t want to talk much more about this subject because it gets lost in the discussion. the case and I can’t do this, I’m afraid.”

The International Skating Union said it would also exercise its right to appeal RUSADA’s decision to lift the ban on competition “and request CAS to reinstate the provisional suspension”.

On Friday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said there was a “misunderstanding” over Valieva’s positive test as he offered the figure skater full support.

“We have great respect for WADA and the IOC,” Peskov told reporters on a conference call.

“They are dealing with this situation at the moment. Let’s not rush, let’s wait for the end of the procedures and the decision of the IOC. For now, we all support our Kamila Valieva and wish her success.”

Asked if the Kremlin has any questions for Russian sports officials about the situation, Peskov said: “The Kremlin has no questions at the moment. The Kremlin appeals to everyone: let’s wait Our sports officials are doing their job.

“We are convinced that there has been some kind of misunderstanding. Our sports officials have questions about the timing of the Valieva sample test… but we do not comment and do not want to comment on the situation, we await the completion of the procedure.”

CNN’s Rebecca Wright, Christine Brennan and Nathan Hodge contributed reporting.

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