LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — A verdict in the Olympic case of teenage figure skater Kamila Valieva could come this year, the World Anti-Doping Agency said on Tuesday detailing “mistrust” over how she was treated for the first time in Russia.
Valieva’s positive test for a heart drug banned in December 2021 was revealed at the Beijing Olympics several weeks later after her exceptional skating at 15 helped the Russians win gold in the team event .
WADA and the International Skating Union appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport against a Russian anti-doping tribunal which found she was not at fault.
The Russian anti-doping agency RUSADA has also appealed at CAS, however, proposed that a reprimand would suffice for Valieva, letting her remain Olympic champion. WADA seeks a four-year ban and Olympic disqualification, which would give the team gold medal to the United States.
“I’m pretty optimistic that we’ll have a decision before the end of the year,” WADA chief executive Olivier Niggli said of the case that dominated the second week in Beijing. Valieva was cleared to skate in the women’s event, but a dramatic, error-filled routine left her in fourth place
Niggli acknowledged that it was now a “complex case with three parties” appealing.
“It depends on what type of claims are brought to court,” Niggli told a press conference during WADA’s annual media day in Olympic city Lausanne. “We are ready to proceed as quickly as possible.”
CAS has not suggested a timeline for a verdict or even a hearing after a three-judge panel is selected.
The Russian ruling clearing Valieva of wrongdoing and only disqualifying her from the Russian championships where her sample was taken, only emerged in January after WADA lobbied CAS to take over the original case. .
WADA President Witold Banka used his opening speech on Tuesday to point out that “unnecessary delays” had fueled mistrust in Russia’s anti-doping system.
Banak also drew attention to Valieva’s coach Eteri Tutberidze rewarded in January of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“This is not a good example of how to protect athletes and children,” the WADA leader said.
WADA’s code of rules provides for mandatory investigations of a coach and his entourage when a minor tests positive for doping.
It would have to be done in Russia and it’s also complicated, Niggli said, because “you need to have people who are willing to talk to you.” ___
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