Russian superstar figure skater Kamila Valieva failed a test for a banned substance and her future at the Beijing Olympics will be decided before her next event on Tuesday, the International Testing Agency (ITA) has said.
The 15-year-old failed the test collected at the Russian Figure Skating Championships on Christmas Day and the sample returned positive for trimetazidine, a heart medication, on 8 February.
It prompted the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) to impose an automatic provisional ban, but Valieva successfully appealed the suspension and she was allowed to continue to compete at the Beijing Games.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC), which said it wanted the matter to be expedited as quickly as possible, will appeal against RUSADA’s decision with a ruling expected before Tuesday’s women’s single event.
“The IOC will exercise its right to appeal and not to wait for the reasoned decision by RUSADA, because a decision is needed before the next competition the athlete is due to take part in (Women Single Skating, 15 February 2022),” the ITA said.
The appeal will be handled by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
‘Russia could lose team gold medal’
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The ITA says the positive test was flagged by a lab on Tuesday after Valieva helped the Russians win the team event but before the medal ceremony, which was then postponed.
Russia could lose its gold medal from the team competition due to Valieva’s positive test.
If Russia is disqualified, the US team would be elevated to the gold medal for the first time in the event, Japan would be awarded silver, and fourth-place finisher Canada would receive the bronze.
It could also threaten Valieva’s chance of winning the individual competition that begins on Tuesday after setting world record scores this season and landing the first quad jump by a women at an Olympics.
Traditional doping is uncommon in figure skating since more muscle mass is seen as a negative.
‘Latest case could extend Russia’s two-year ban’
However, many skaters have been caught trying to control their weight with diuretics over the years, which are banned for their ability to mask steroid use and other medications that could affect performance.
The latest doping case involving a Russian athlete could have broader implications for the country’s sports programme.
Russia is competing in the Beijing Olympics as the Russian Olympic Committee, without its anthem or flag.
That’s because of the fallout from years of doping disputes including steroid use and cover-ups at the 2014 Winter Olympics, which Russia hosted.
Another scandal could extend their two-year ban beyond its scheduled December end.
Source : Sky News