LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — The International Skating Union is following the World Anti-Doping Agency in appealing the decision not to ban Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva over the doping case which overshadowed last year’s Beijing Olympics.
The ISU said Wednesday that despite Valieva’s age — she was 15 at the time she tested positive — it was important to pursue the case at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland.
“The ISU is of the opinion that all young athletes must be protected against doping. Such protection cannot happen by exempting young athletes from sanctions,” the ISU said.
The appeals follow a Russian anti-doping tribunal’s decision that Valieva bore “no fault or negligence” for the positive test in December 2021 for the heart medication trimetazidine, which is banned in sports. The tribunal disqualified Valieva from the Russian national championships, where she gave the sample, but no other event. There has been no word on the results of a mandatory investigation into Valieva’s entourage.
The positive test was reported only two months later, during the Beijing Games, because the laboratory was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. By that time, Valieva had already won a gold medal in the team event with the Russian squad and was preparing for the women’s competition, where she had been favored for gold but placed fourth after falls.
Unlike WADA, which said Tuesday it was seeking a four-year ban at CAS including disqualification from the Olympics, the ISU said it would ask only for “a period of ineligibility at CAS’s own discretion,” and for CAS to decide the final results of the team event.
A year after the Beijing Games finished, no medal ceremony has taken place for the team competition because of the uncertainty over whether Valieva should have been eligible to compete. That delay has prompted frustration from the U.S. team, which finished second behind the Russians and could potentially be upgraded to the gold medal.
The International Olympic Committee welcomed WADA’s decision to appeal and said it hoped for a swift resolution to allow the medals to be presented.
“The IOC welcomes that with the decision from WADA, to take this case to CAS, we are one step closer to a final resolution, which the athletes are desperately waiting for,” the IOC said.
“As it concerns a test that was conducted outside the Olympic Games, but which has an impact on the results of the figure skating team and the individual competitions at the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, the IOC hopes that the case will be handled as quickly as possible.”
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