Russian skater Valieva to testify by video link at CAS hearing into Beijing Olympics doping case

GENEVA (AP) — Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva will give evidence by video link for a hearing this month into her doping case that rocked the 2022 Beijing Olympics.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport said Friday that Valieva and officials from the Russian anti-doping agency are among “parties, witnesses and experts” giving testimony remotely at a closed-door hearing in Lausanne from Sept. 26-29.

The World Anti-Doping Agency is seeking a four-year ban for Valieva, though a verdict could take months.

“At this juncture, it is not possible to indicate when the final decision will be announced,” the court said in a statement detailing the expected process.

Valieva came into the Beijing Games as a 15-year-old gold-medal favorite, before her positive test for a banned heart medication was revealed.

She was allowed by an emergency CAS panel to continue skating pending a full investigation, but placed fourth after an error-filled program. After a Russian tribunal eventually ruled last year that Valieva was not at fault, WADA and the International Skating Union appealed to CAS.

WADA is also asking the CAS judges to disqualify Valieva from the Olympics, which would strip the Russians of gold in the team event. She starred in a clear win ahead of the United States, which took silver and could be upgraded to gold.

The ISU is requesting a ban of two to four years and Olympic disqualification.

Valieva’s lawyers argue that CAS has no jurisdiction, the court said, and alternatively that she was not at fault so a reprimand is enough.

CAS said her lawyers also suggest that a possible ban should only be for two years because the positive test was not intentional, and that the Olympics results should stand.

In Beijing, Valieva’s lawyers said she had inadvertently been contaminated by trimetazidine her grandfather was taking. It can increase blood flow efficiency and improve endurance.

She tested positive on Dec. 25, 2021, at the Russian national championships held in St. Petersburg, where she won the women's title.

The sample was sent to a laboratory in Stockholm, Sweden, where processing was delayed by staff shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic and, according to WADA, because Russian officials did not label the batch of samples as a high priority.

CAS has chosen Australian lawyer James Drake to chair the judging panel. WADA and the ISU picked American lawyer Jeffrey Mishkin, a long-time senior counsel to the NBA. In a long career as a CAS judge, Mishkin has been chosen by FIFA to hear American soccer cases.

French law professor Mathieu Maisonneuve was selected for the panel by Valieva's legal team.


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