Russian Kamila Valieva, 15, cleared to skate in Winter Olympics despite failed drugs test

14 February 2022, 06:58 | Updated: 14 February 2022, 08:23

15-year-old Kamila Valieva has been allowed to compete in the Winter Olympics despite a positive drugs test
15-year-old Kamila Valieva has been allowed to compete in the Winter Olympics despite a positive drugs test. Picture: Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

Teenage skater Kamila Valieva has been cleared to continue to compete at the Winter Olympics despite a positive drugs test on Christmas Day.

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The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) determined that no provisional suspension should be imposed, citing "exceptional circumstances" for its decision, after the 15-year-old submitted a positive sample for trimetazidine on Christmas Day.

They included Valieva's status as a "protected person" under the World Anti-Doping Code, "serious issues" in the process of notifying Valieva of her result, and the fact a suspension could cause her "irreparable harm".

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Valieva, 15, tested positive for TMZ - a medication for angina that increases blood flow to the heart and stabilises blood pressure.

Whilst the sample was from Christmas Day, during Russia's annual Figure Skating Championships, the positive result was returned on February 8.

Valieva did not stop training despite the drugs test
Valieva did not stop training despite the drugs test. Picture: Alamy

Valieva competed in the team event last week, threatening her own world record in the short program before becoming the first female skater to land quad jumps at the Olympics in her free skate on February 8.

Meanwhile the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) received notice of Valieva's positive sample and almost immediately lifted the automatic provisional suspension, effectively enabling her to remain on Olympic ice.

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The decision was appealed by the International Testing Agency (ITA), the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the International Skating Union (ISU), and an ad-hoc CAS committee was set up in Beijing to hear the case.

Valieva, who has continued training daily throughout the developments, will now take part in the short program section of the women's figure skating competition at the Capital Indoor Arena in Beijing on Tuesday.

Olga Yermolina, spokeswoman for the Russian Figure Skating Federation, said the positive drugs test had left Valieva 'understandably nervous' and even suggested there had been some kind of foul play.

"Do you know when the test was taken?" She said.

"Why do you think it was published right now, compare these dates and draw your own conclusions.

"I cannot comment directly and tell you clearly, but just compare the dates and you will understand what is at stake, why this is happening."

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After Valieva was cleared to compete, the CAS panel said in a statement: "The panel considered fundamental principle of fairness, proportionality, irreparable harm, and the relative balance of interests as between the applicants and the athlete, who did not test positive during the Olympic Games in Beijing and is still subject to a disciplinary procedure on the merits following the positive anti-doping test undertaken in December 2021.

"In particular, the panel considered that preventing the athlete from competing at the Olympic Games would cause her irreparable harm in these circumstances.

"The CAS panel also emphasised that there were serious issues of untimely notification of the results in the athlete's anti-doping test that was performed in December 2021 which impinged upon the athlete's ability to establish certain legal requirements for her benefit, while such late notification was not her fault, in the middle of the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022."