The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in the case of figure skater Kamila Valieva on Tuesday after a Russian investigation found the teenager not guilty of any doping infraction.
WADA is seeking a four-year ban and disqualification of all of Valieva’s results from the date of the sample collection.
“WADA considers the finding by the disciplinary tribunal of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) that the athlete bore “no fault or negligence” to be wrong under the terms of the World Anti-Doping Code in this case and has exercised its right to lodge an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport,” WADA said in a brief statement.
Valieva tested positive for the banned substance trimetazidine at the Russian national championships in December 2021 but the result was only made known on Feb 8, 2022 a day after she helped her team win a gold medal at the Beijing Olympics.
In her defence, Valieva said the positive test was the result of a mix-up with her grandfather’s heart medication.
A RUSADA investigation released in January acknowledged that Valieva did fail a drug test but ruled that the teenager was not guilty of any doping infraction.
Despite the positive test, CAS had cleared Valieva to continue competing at the Beijing Games in the women’s singles, upholding an earlier decision by RUSADA to lift a ban on the skater.
CAS had cited the fact that Valieva was a “protected person” under WADA rules as one of the “exceptional circumstances” underpinning its decision. The CAS ruling did not address the merits of Valieva’s drug case.
Valieva, who became the first woman to land a quadruple jump at the Olympics during the team event, had been favourite to win the singles gold but missed out on an individual medal after dropping to fourth place with an error-laden free skate.
During the Beijing Games, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided that no medals for the team figure skating event would be presented until Valieva’s case had been resolved.
The United States took silver behind the Russians, with Japan getting the bronze and Canada placing fourth.
American figure skaters said earlier in February that they were “deeply frustrated” by the delay in receiving the team medals.
“Now let’s hope the hearing is expedited and open to the public so that the athletes, whose dreams are hanging in the balance, can believe in the final outcome, whatever it may be, and that justice can be salvaged soon,” tweeted United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) chief Travis Tygart.