Russia is facing calls to be booted out of the international sport after the clearance of Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva to compete at the Winter Olympics despite her doping scandal.
The 15-year old figure skater, who has tested positive for heart drug Trimetazidine, was cleared to continue to compete at the Beijing Winter Olympics despite failing a drug test, the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled on Monday.
“On the basis of the very limited facts of this case, and after consideration of the relevant legal issues, [the court] has determined that no provisional suspension should be imposed on the Athlete,” CAS said in a two-page decision.
Denying Valieva a chance to compete “would cause her irreparable harm,” the court said.
It was revealed on Friday that 15-year-old Valieva tested positive for a banned drug in December ahead of the Russian Figure Skating Championships, according to the International Testing Agency.
“The late notification is extremely unfortunate, as it affects not only the athlete, but also the organizers of the Olympic Winter Games,” Matthieu Reeb, director-general of CAS, said in a press conference in Beijing on Monday. “In other words, we would not have this case and I would not be here if these anti-doping test procedures would have been completed in one week or 10 days, as it is generally the case, for example, at the Olympic Games.”
Valieva tested positive for trimetazidine, a heart medication, in a sample tested at a World Anti-Doping Agency accredited lab, according to the International Testing Agency. The drug is classified by WADA as a hormone and metabolic modulator, according to the ITA.
The Russian Anti-Doping Agency was notified of the result of the test on Feb. 8, one day after the Team Event ended, according to the International Testing Agency. Valieva was provisionally suspended from participating in the Olympics, the ITA said. She is scheduled to participate in the women’s singles event on Feb. 15
Travis Tygart, head of the US Anti-Doping Agency, said Russia had “hijacked the competition” and again “stolen the moment from clean athletes”.
International athlete-led pressure group Global Athlete declared that Valieva being found to have a performance-enhancing substance in her system is “evidence of abuse of a minor”.
“The doping of minor athletes must be stopped,” GA demanded. “It is unacceptable that these risks have been placed on a 15-year old.
“Any country that systematically dopes its athletes cannot be allowed to participate in international sport.”
GA contends it is “blatantly clear” Valieva would never have found herself in this position had the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), International Olympic Committee (IOC) and CAS “done their jobs” and banned Russia from global sport.
“Russia has never been incentivised to reform because sport leaders favoured politics over principle and rebranding over banning,” it said.
“Athletes have lost confidence in the global anti-doping system.”