Skating: Russian Kamila Valieva banned for 4 years for doping

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By John

Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva has been disqualified for 4 years by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne. The verdict was announced today by the panel of referees who between September and November last year had dealt with the delicate case linked to the young Russian athlete who had been found positive for doping when she was under 16 years old, therefore not sanctionable.

With Valieva’s disqualification, the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) also loses the gold medal of the team competition at the Beijing Olympic Games to the United States. In the ruling, the TAS, in addition to accusing Valieva, now 17 years old, of having violated the anti-doping rules by sanctioning her for 4 years, wrote that all results starting from 25 December 2021 are cancelled. The CAS arbitration ruled that there was no reason for Valieva, who was 15 at the time of the violation, to be treated with more leniency than an adult.

On December 25, 2021, on the occasion of the Russian National Championships in St. Petersburg, Valieva was found positive for the stimulant trimetazidine, a substance that treats angina. The positivity was communicated, however, only in the following February after the skater had already taken part in the team competition at the Beijing Olympics.

In that competition the skater originally from Kazan, coached by Eteri Tutberidze, became the first woman in the world to perform a quadruple jump. In the free program of the individual competition, following the emotional stress caused by the situation that arose after the communication of the positivity, she had made several errors, finishing the competition, however sub-judice, in fourth place.

In January 2023, an independent disciplinary committee of the Russian anti-doping agency had established that Valieva had tested positive for trimetazidine without “no fault or negligence” on her part, disqualifying her from the Russian Championships in December 2021. At that point Wada (world anti-doping agency) and ISU (world federation) have appealed against the decision asking for further sanctions.

Wada had requested a four-year disqualification including the results obtained at the Beijing 2022 Games. The CAS states that the panel’s decision «is final and binding, with the exception of the right of the parties to appeal to the Swiss Federal Court within 30 days for limited reasons.”