WADA forces hearing in Russian skater Valieva’s doping case

FILE PHOTO: Kamila Valieva of the Russian Olympic Committee in action during Beijing 2022.

FILE PHOTO: Kamila Valieva of the Russian Olympic Committee in action during Beijing 2022. | Photo Credit: PHIL NOBLE

The World Anti-Doping Agency said on Tuesday it sent the Beijing Olympics case of teenage figure skater Kamila Valieva to sport’s highest court, accusing Russian officials of making “no progress” toward resolving it.

Under a rarely used power, WADA can take cases out of national agencies’ hands and send them directly to CAS if it can show that they are not being resolved in a “timely” manner, according to international anti-doping rules.

The Russian anti-doping agency, known as RUSADA, had indicated last month it was preparing to hold a hearing but wouldn’t make the verdict public because Valieva was only 15 at the time she tested positive.

“Despite putting RUSADA under formal notice to resolve the Kamila Valieva case promptly, no progress was made. Therefore, I can confirm WADA has now officially referred it directly to the Court of Arbitration for Sport,” WADA president Witold Banka wrote on Twitter.

WADA warned Russian officials last month to speed up their investigation, which could result in the United States team being upgraded from silver to gold medal.

A case at the sports court in Lausanne, Switzerland, is still likely to take several months to process.

A previous CAS panel of judges allowed Valieva to compete in the women’s individual event in Beijing even under suspicion of doping.

Valieva won Olympic gold in the team competition before finding out she tested positive for a banned substance before the Beijing Games at a Russian competition in December 2020. The coronavirus pandemic caused delays at the lab tasked with testing the sample and it was only reported once Valieva was at the Olympics.

She appealed a provisional suspension and was allowed to skate in the women’s individual event and placed fourth. While anti-doping procedures continued in Russia, Valieva has been skating in national competitions.

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