Doping Upcoming CAS decision in the case of Russian figure

Doping: Upcoming CAS decision in the case of Russian figure skater Valieva

Young Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva, 17, whose positive test for a banned substance was revealed during the 2022 Beijing Olympics, is likely to have her fate resolved in the coming days with the expected decision by the International Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). ).

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At the end of the closing arguments in November 2023, the CAS stated that it would submit its report “by the end of January 2024”.

Valieva was only 15 years old when she tested positive in December 2021 after her victory at the Russian Championships.

The young skater, born in Kazan on April 26, 2006, was found to have a tiny concentration of trimetazidine, which has been banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) since 2014 because it is suspected of increasing blood flow.

However, the case was only revealed in February 2022 during the Beijing Olympics, a day after Russia's victory in the team competition, in which Valieva became the first skater in history to successfully complete a quadruple jump.

The case was brought before the CAS after Valieva was exonerated by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), which considered that the skater had committed “no fault or negligence.”

For their part, WADA and the International Skating Federation (ISU) called for a ban of up to four years and the cancellation of all of Valieva's results since the end of 2021.

After an initial hearing in September 2023, the three CAS judges met again behind closed doors on November 9th to hear the young skater via video conference as well as experts and witnesses.

The case presented a legal dilemma from the start. The skater's age at the time of the test should have ensured her confidentiality under WADA rules. But his outstanding performance at the Beijing Olympics gave the affair a strong impression.

Contaminated by cutlery

“Confidentiality is a good thing, but when it comes to elite athletes it becomes a bit artificial,” said David Pavot, director of the anti-doping research chair at Canada's University of Sherbrooke, in an interview with AFP in 2023. The Valieva Affair “raises broader ethical questions about the minimum age for participation in the Games.”

The international federation decided that from 2024 the minimum age for participation in the Games will be raised from 15 to 17, citing the “physical, mental and emotional health” of athletes.

For David Pavot, Kamila Valieva was “in a spiral that exceeded her” against the background of the revelations of fraud and discrediting of Russian sport against the RUSADA agency.

In the days following the revelation of the affair, Valieva collapsed during the singles event in Beijing. First at the end of the short program, she stumbled four times in the long program, ending in tears and ultimately failing at the foot of the podium.

In her defense, the young figure skater cited “contamination from cutlery” that she shared with her grandfather, who was treated with trimetazidine after receiving an artificial heart and who took her to practice every day.

In 2018, the CAS retained two cases of accidental contamination with trimetazidine: American swimmer Madisyn Cox, who consumed the drug in a multivitamin solution, and Russian bobsledder Nadezhda Sergeeva. The use of trimetazidine as a medication is questionable, particularly due to its numerous side effects, ranging from gait disorders to hallucinations.

After being cleared by RUSADA, Valieva returned to competition, placing second at the Russian Championships in late 2022 and third the following year. Last November she won the Russian Grand Prix.