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At 3 p.m. Lausanne time on Monday, the Court of Arbitration for Sport issued its long-awaited decision in the Kamila Valieva doping case, with a clear decision in favor of the World Anti-Doping Agency:
“● The decision taken by the Disciplinary Anti-Doping Committee of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency No. 9/2023 on 24 January 2023 in relation to Ms Kamila Valieva is set aside.
“● Ms Valieva is found to have committed an Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV) under Clause 4.1 of the All-Russian Anti-Doping Rules of 24 June 2021 (the Russian ADR).
“● A period of four (4) years ineligibility is imposed on Ms Valieva, starting on 25 December 2021.
“● All competitive results of Ms Valieva from 25 December 2021 are disqualified, with all the resulting consequences (including forfeiture of any titles, awards, medals, profits, prizes, and appearance money).”
The impact will be to disqualify Russia from its gold-medal performance in the Figure Skating Team Event at the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing (CHN), where Valieva won both the Short Program and the Free Skate.
The beneficiaries should be the U.S. team, which should be advanced to the gold medal, as well as Japan (bronze to silver) and Canada, which finished fourth and would now get the bronze medals.
The CAS statement added:
“According to Clause 4.1 of the Russian [Anti-Doping Rules], athletes are responsible for any Prohibited Substance found to be present in their samples and the presence of any prohibited substance amounts to an [adverse finding]. In this matter, a prohibited substance, Trimetazidine (TMZ), was found to be present in the sample collected from Ms Valieva on 25 December 2021 during the Russian National Championships in St Petersburg, Ms Valieva did not contest liability in that she accepted that, by reason of the presence of a TMZ in her sample, she had committed an ADRV under Clause 4.1 of the Russian ADR.”
Based on this, the three-arbitrator panel reviewed whether Valieva could establish, based on the written submittals and two sessions of oral argument, that she ingested the Trimetazidine unintentionally:
“Having carefully considered all the evidence put before it, the CAS Panel concluded that 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 ADRV intentionally (within the meaning of the Russian ADR).”
Valieva, then 15 and now 17, was sanctioned with four years of ineligibility from the date – 25 December 2021 – that she gave the sample that turned up positive.
This is the decision sought by the World Anti-Doping Agency (four years), with the International Skating Union and the Russian Anti-Doping Agency also part of the appeal; both would have accepted lesser penalties.
The decision is appealable to the Swiss Federal Tribunal on procedural grounds, and it can be expected that an appeal will be filed within the required 30 days, which will further delay any action on the finalization of the Beijing Team Event.
And the statement noted that the Court of Arbitration was not asked to deal with the question of the results, which will now be up to the International Skating Union and finally, the International Olympic Committee.
The full decision was not published and since the arbitration rules allow for one party to maintain confidentiality if it desires, may never be. But that is in the future. For now, Valieva was found to have committed a doping violation and was ineligible to compete at Beijing at the 2022 Olympic Winter Games.
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