Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva will testify in her Beijing doping case, official says
Kamila Valieva will be among those to testify via video link in her doping case as the Russian teenage figure skating sensation fights for the right to compete again at the Beijing Olympics.
Valieva’s case will be heard by a panel of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Beijing on Sunday evening local time, with a decision expected on Monday – just a day before the 15-year-old gold medal favorite is due to s line up in the ladies’ singles event in the Chinese capital.
“The athlete will be online and she will testify”, CAS Director General Matthieu Reeb said just before the hearing, which was scheduled to start at 8:30 p.m. local time.
“We assume she will speak in Russian, and we have an interpreter,” Reeb added, according to the AP.
Valieva and the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) face the combined might of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and International Skating Union (ISU), all seeking to reimpose a suspension to the skater for a positive anti-doping sample taken on December 25 at the Russian championships.
The result was only announced last week after Valieva helped the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) win gold in the figure skating team event in Beijing.
RUSADA initially imposed a provisional suspension on Valieva, but this was lifted on appeal.
The skater’s coach Eteri Tutberidze and the Russian Figure Skating Federation said they had “no doubt” that the star is clean, having tested positive for minimal traces of trimetazidine, a heart medication.
A CAS panel will rule on the case consisting of Italian Fabio Iudica, American Jeffrey Benz and Dr Vesna Bergant Rakocevic of Slovenia.
Ahead of the hearing, Valieva was seen training in Beijing on Sunday alongside teammates Alexandra Trusova and Anna Shcherbakova, both also coached by Tutberidze.
Reigning European and Russian champion Valieva has been offered strong support in her homeland, including from the Kremlin.
The ROC noted that Valieva repeatedly took doping tests before and after the positive sample taken in December – including at the Beijing Games.
Questions have been raised as to why the results of the positive sample – which was sent to a WADA-accredited laboratory in Stockholm – took more than six weeks to come back.
RUSADA officials said they received the explanation that Covid-related issues had caused delays at the Swedish lab.
Valieva coach breaks silence on Olympic doping ordeal
Heading into the Beijing Games, Valieva was the big favorite for gold, with women’s world records for her short and free skating programs, as well as a record total of points.
Valieva has already made history in Beijing by becoming the first figure skater to land a quad at the Olympics.