Valieva not sanctioned by Russian anti-doping agency, says 'concerned' WADA

Russian figure skating prodigy Kamila Valieva has not been sanctioned by the Russian anti-doping agency, which found she bore "no fault or negligence" for a positive drugs test before the Beijing Olympics, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said on Friday.

Montreal-based WADA said it was "concerned" by this conclusion of the Russian disciplinary tribunal and specified that it would not hesitate to exercise its right of appeal before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

The Russian tribunal found that, although the athlete had committed an anti-doping rule violation, she had committed "no fault or negligence", stated WADA, who have requested a copy of the full decision.

The only sanction imposed by the Russian anti-doping agency (Rusada) was the cancellation of Valieva's results on the date the sample was taken December 25, 2021.

WADA had sought a four-year period of ineligibility for the athlete.

At the Winter Games last February, Valieva, then 15, became the first female skater to land a quadruple jump in Olympic competition, helping the Russian team secure gold in the team event.

It later emerged the 2022 European champion had tested positive before the Games for trimetazidine, a drug used to treat angina but which is banned for athletes because it can boost endurance.

The urine sample was taken from Valieva on December 25 at the 2021 Russian National Figure Skating Championships.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) allowed her to compete in the individual final in Beijing citing her young age but her tearful meltdown on the ice became the biggest story of the Games.

- 'Chilling' -

IOC president Thomas Bach said afterwards "it was chilling to see" how her coach Eteri Tutberidze berated the teenager after she fell multiple times.

"I was very disturbed when I watched it on TV," Bach said, adding Valieva was treated with "a tremendous coldness" by her coaches after the calamitous free skate routine which saw her finish fourth.

The pre-Games favourite for gold was distraught afterwards but Tutberidze was seen demanding to know what had gone wrong as Valieva came off the ice, her head bowed and looking pale.

"Why did you let it go? Why did you let it go? Tell me," Tutberidze could be heard saying.

Bach told a news conference: "When I afterwards saw how she was received by her closest entourage with what appeared to be such a tremendous coldness, it was chilling to see this."

The IOC did not award medals for the team event, pending the results of the investigation into the Valieva case.

Four months after the Olympics, the International Skating Union (ISU) raised the minimum age for figure skaters to 17 to participate in senior competitions.

The Valieva case also focused the spotlight on the participation of Russia at Olympic Games.

Russia were already under sanctions for a massive state-sponsored doping programme that reached its peak at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Russian athletes were competing in Beijing under the banner of the Russian Olympic Committee.

In November, WADA referred the Valieva case to WADA because of the lack of "progress" in the Russian procedure.

Rusada had announced it would not communicate on the Valieva disciplinary procedure stating: "All information, the date of the hearing, the accusation, the results or other details will remain confidential".

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