It is not necessary to remind what unpleasant situation Kamila Valieva got into at the Beijing Olympics. The topic has been discussed for more than a year. Yes, yes, more than 12 months have passed since the discovery of the 16-year-old skater’s doping sample, and the case is still hanging somewhere in the Court of Arbitration for Sport. First, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), whose mandate was to investigate, discuss, and render a verdict, delayed the investigation. Then the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), tired of waiting, referred the case to CAS.
In January, RUSADA issued a statement after all: Valiyeva was not guilty. Our agency did not find the figure skater negligence in the positive test for trimetazidine, but deprived her of the gold medal of the Russian Championship-2021, where that unfortunate test was taken. At the same time RUSADA decided that the gold medal of the European Championship and the victory in the team tournament of Beijing-2022 are legitimate.
WADA did not like the Russian agency’s decision. They said that they would appeal to CAS, and once again reminded that they demanded a four-year ban for Valiyeva. The same term of punishment was requested immediately after the scandal in Beijing.
“WADA has carefully reviewed the full reasoned decision and materials related to the case of figure skater Kamila Valieva.
WADA considers the conclusion of the disciplinary committee of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency that there was no “fault or negligence” on the part of the athlete to be incorrect under the provisions of the World Anti-Doping Code in this case and exercised its right to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
As part of the appeal, WADA seeks a four-year period of ineligibility and the cancellation of all of the athlete’s results from the date of her sample on December 25, 2021. WADA will continue to insist that the case be heard without further unnecessary delay.
Given that the case is now pending before CAS, WADA cannot comment further at this time,” the agency said in a statement.
In addition to the 4-year ban for 16-year-old Kamila is also asked to cancel all her results from December 2021. And that means that Mark Kondratyuk, Anastasia Mishina Alexander Galliamov and Viktoria Sinitsina Nikita Katsalapov will not wait for the gold medal of the Olympic team, which they are waiting for more than a year. The U.S. team will automatically be the winner, with Japan second and Canada third.
Americans, including skaters participating in the Olympic team competition, have been asking all year long to get to the bottom of the case as soon as possible. The U.S. anti-doping agency, of course, sided with its athletes, and after the WADA announcement, hoped that the process would go faster.
“This had to be done to restore confidence in the global anti-doping system, and we are very grateful. Now let’s hope that the hearing goes quickly and is open to the public so that athletes whose dreams hang in the balance can believe the final result, whatever it may be. And that justice can be done soon,” said USADA head Travis Teigert.
But more importantly, the International Skating Union, which had tried to keep the Valiyeva case at bay for a year, took the side of WADA. Following the anti-doping committee, ISU appealed the RUSADA verdict to CAS. The argument is as follows:
“ISU believes that young athletes should be protected from doping. Such protection cannot be provided by exempting young athletes from penalties. As part of the appeal, ISU seeks the disqualification [of Valiyeva], effective December 25, 2021, for a period at the discretion of CAS, as well as the cancellation of all results achieved during that period, including the forfeiture of all medals, points and prizes.
In addition, CAS must decide on the consequences of Valiyeva’s anti-doping rule violation and determine the final results of the team event at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Games.”
Unlike WADA, the ISU leaves the punishment to the CAS. And it could be anything: from cruel (4 years of bans would put an end to the career of Valiyeva), to the minimum, given that this season Kamila and all the skaters of the Russian team have to spend on the domestic competition. The timing of the case is unknown. But sports lawyer Anna Antseliovich believes it is in the best interest of both sides to consider it in a short time frame.
“Avoiding a four-year disqualification is possible. It is an adversarial process and it is a question of whether the parties can prove their position. But it should be understood that not only RUSADA and the athlete will prove their position, but also WADA.
The question now is whether the parties will agree to an expedited review. If they agree, the decision will be made very quickly, tentatively within a few weeks to a month. If they do not agree, it will be an ordinary process, but taking into account the interest in this case, it will not be much delayed. So, we will know the result within a few months,” Match TV quoted the lawyer as saying.
The reaction in Russia to the WADA statement is predictable. Tatiana Tarasova called the officials responsible for the Valiyeva case sick people, and called on the country’s best lawyers to fence Kamila from being bullied. Alexander Zhulin considers the requested four-year ban unfair, and Irina Rodnina, the only one who accused RUSADA of a mistake before the Olympics.