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WADA appeals case of Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva to Court of Arbitration for Sport

<i>Evgenia Novozhenina/Reuters</i><br/>The World Anti-Doping Agency on Tuesday has appealed the case of Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva
Evgenia Novozhenina/Reuters
The World Anti-Doping Agency on Tuesday has appealed the case of Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva

By Jill Martin and George Ramsay, CNN

The protracted doping saga involving Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva entered another phase on Tuesday as the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) appealed the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Last month, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) effectively cleared Valieva of wrongdoing, saying that the 16-year-old had violated anti-doping rules but bore no “fault or negligence” for the transgression.

But WADA believes such a conclusion is “wrong” and has now exercised its right to appeal the ruling.

Valieva was suspended by RUSADA the day after she guided the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) to victory in the figure skating team event at last year’s Winter Olympics in Beijing, where she also became the first woman in history to land a quadruple jump at the Games.

However, it came to light during the course of the Olympics that Valieva had tested positive for the heart medication trimetazidine — which can enhance endurance — in December 2021.

Valieva has not publicly explained the positive test results.

The ROC placed first in the team event in Beijing ahead of the USA in second, Japan in third and Canada in fourth, but no medal ceremony was held as a result of the doping controversy.

In a statement on Tuesday, WADA said it is seeking a four-year period of ineligibility for Valieva and disqualification of her results from the date of the sample collection on December 25, 2021.

“As it has sought to do throughout this process, WADA will continue to push for this matter to proceed without further undue delay,” the statement added.

“Given the case is now pending before CAS, WADA can make no further comment at this time.”

When contacted by CNN, RUSADA said it cannot comment on individual cases but referred to a statement dated February 24.

Without naming Valieva, the statement said that RUSADA is “convinced that the athlete is guilty of violating the rules, but it is minimal and a reasonable sanction could be the issuance of a ‘warning.'”

Valieva was cleared to compete in the women’s singles event at the Winter Olympics but ultimately placed fourth after falling and stumbling several times during the competition.

Travis Tygart, the CEO of the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), said on Tuesday that the decision to appeal Valieva’s case to CAS “had to be done in order to restore some confidence in the global anti-doping system.”

He added: “Let’s hope the hearing is expedited and open to the public so that the athletes whose dreams are hanging in the balance can believe in the final outcome, whatever it may be, and that some justice can be salvaged soon.”

The International Olympic Committee (IOC), meanwhile, said it welcomes WADA’s decision for taking the case “one step closer to a final resolution.”

“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,” an IOC statement to CNN said.

“This is also in the best interests of everyone involved, particularly the athletes who have not yet been able to receive their medals from Beijing 2022.”

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CNN’s Matt Foster contributed to reporting.

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