WADA chief says Valieva case highlights low trust in Russian anti-doping

  • World
  • Tuesday, 14 Mar 2023

FILE PHOTO: 2022 Beijing Olympics - Figure Skating - Women Single Skating - Free Skating - Capital Indoor Stadium, Beijing, China - February 17, 2022. Kamila Valieva of the Russian Olympic Committee reacts after her performance. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez/File Photo

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (Reuters) - The head of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said on Tuesday that trust in Russia's anti-doping system remained low, citing the handling of the doping case of Olympic figure skater Kamila Valieva.

Valieva tested positive for the banned substance trimetazidine at the Russian national championships in December 2021 as a 15-year-old. The result of her test, however, was only made known on Feb. 8, 2022, a day after she helped her team win a gold medal at the Beijing Olympics.

WADA last month appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) after a Russian investigation found her not guilty of any doping infraction. WADA is seeking a four-year ban and disqualification of all of Valieva's results from the date of the sample collection.

WADA President Witold Banka said the Russian decision in the case "certainly does not build confidence".

"I must say that the trust in the independence of the anti-doping system there remains very low," Banka told participants of WADA's annual symposium.

"The way the case of the ROC (Russian Olympic Committee) figure skater Kamila Valieva has been dealt with has not been encouraging. These unnecessary delays in the case fit that distrust."

Valieva's case cast a shadow on Russians' participation at last year's Beijing Olympics as they already faced scrutiny over separate doping sanctions that saw them compete without their flag and national anthem.

Valieva, who became the first woman to land a quadruple jump at the Olympics during the team event, had been favourite to win the singles gold but missed out on an individual medal after dropping to fourth place with an uncharacteristically flawed free skate.

During the Beijing Games, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided that no medals for the team figure skating event would be awarded until Valieva's case had been resolved.

(Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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