Sports politics: Kremlin angry about ban for figure skater Valiyeva

Almost two years after the Olympic scandal involving Kamila Waliyeva, the Russian figure skater was subsequently banned for four years by the International Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Sports politics: Kremlin angry about ban for figure skater Valiyeva

Almost two years after the Olympic scandal involving Kamila Waliyeva, the Russian figure skater was subsequently banned for four years by the International Court of Arbitration for Sport.

This means that Russia's team is also likely to lose the team gold it won with the then 15-year-old at the Winter Games in Beijing. The US selection would then be declared Olympic champions. According to the Cas decision, Waliyeva's ban begins retroactively on December 25, 2021.

The Kremlin criticizes the Cas ruling as politically motivated. "Of course we don't agree with it," said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov in St. Petersburg. If there are legal remedies against the ruling of the International Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas), then Russia should use them, he said, according to the Tass agency. "We must defend the interests of our athletes to the last."

The case of Valiyeva, now 17, has been keeping sports lawyers busy since the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. After the team competition, the figure skater had a positive doping test. Valiyeva tested positive for the banned drug trimetazidine at the national championships in December 2021.

Freestyle with tears

Because Valiyeva was only 15 years old at the time, she was considered a "protected person" under the World Anti-Doping Code whose identity should not have been revealed. The secrecy failed. Walijewa's legally enforced start in the Olympic women's singles ended as a scandal with a tearful routine, the favorite only ended up in fourth place.

The Russian Figure Skating Federation announced that it would closely examine the verdict. Since the Federation is not taking part in the proceedings, the verdict is only known from publicly available sources, said Secretary General Alexander Kogan. “We assume that our athletes will be Olympic champions in the team competition,” he said, according to the Tass agency.

"It's a great pity that such an honest, wonderful, talented person like Kamila has to deal with such harsh injustice at a young age," said Russian success coach Tatjana Tarasova. "The hatred of our country has been transferred to them."

Wada: “In the interests of fairness”

The Cas sports judges took over the case in autumn 2022 because the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) and the World Ice Skating Association (Isu) had lodged an objection against the ruling by the Russian anti-doping agency Rusada. Rusada had only stripped Valiyeva of the national championship title, but had not imposed any further sanctions. “No guilt or negligence” could be proven.

WADA initiated the CAS procedure to obtain a four-year ban for Waliyeva. Wada has appealed "in the interests of fairness for the athletes and clean sport" and believes this is the right decision, the world agency said.

"Doping by children is unforgivable. Doctors, trainers or other support staff who have administered performance-enhancing substances to minors must face the full severity of the World Anti-Doping Code," the Montreal-based agency said in a statement.

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