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Russian Figure Skater Valieva, 17, Hit With Four-Year-Ban For Doping

The Russian Olympic Committee said “war has been declared on Russian sport.”

After originally being found not guilty of doping, Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva has received a four-year ban.

After a Russian Anti-Doping Agency (Rusada) inquiry, it was determined that Valieva bore “no fault or negligence” for a failed test when she tested positive for a banned heart medication trimetazidine in 2021, before the 2022 Winter Olympics, when she won team gold at the age of 15.

However, an appeal by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has been upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

WADA, in response to the previous doping issue, had said, “The doping of children is unforgivable.”

It wasn’t until Valieva had assisted Russia in winning team gold in Beijing that the news of her failed test emerged. 

Valieva took the failed test on December 25, 2021, which is when the suspension was imposed. The CAS panel also mandated “the disqualification all competitive results achieved” starting on that date.

The body, however, said that the power to take away Russia’s gold medal was “not within the scope of this arbitration procedure and will have to be examined by the sports organisations concerned”.

The International Skating Union, the governing organisation, applauded the CAS ruling and said that it will provide a comprehensive statement regarding the consequences on Tuesday.

According to CAS, Valieva, who is currently 17 years old, did not dispute the presence of a prohibited drug and it was asked to determine whether or not she should be subject to any penalties.

In its ruling, CAS said, “Ms Valieva was not able to establish, on the balance of probabilities and on the basis of the evidence before the panel, that she had not committed the Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV) intentionally.”

Regarding Valieva’s age at the time of the failed test, it was said that it made no difference “whether the athlete is an adult or a Protected Person”.

The Russian Olympic Committee said that “in effect war has been declared on Russian sport,” while the Kremlin denounced the CAS finding as a “politicised” decision.

Ozioma Samuel-Ugwuezi