Doping case involving Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva resumes

The doping case involving Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva is taking place at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) over the next two days, the latest chapter in a saga which has rumbled on since last year’s Winter Olympics.

Following the figure skating team event at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, it emerged that the then-15-year-old Valieva had tested positive for trimetazidine, a heart medication which can boost endurance.

Valieva’s team, competing as the Russian Olympic Committee, had finished first ahead of the USA and Japan but no medals were subsequently awarded.

In December 2022, a Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) commission said that Valieva bore no “fault or negligence” for the transgression. The skater has also said that the drug was ingested accidentally.

However, RUSADA’s ruling has been appealed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Skating Union (ISU), and even a portion of the decision was appealed by RUSADA itself.

RUSADA has changed its stance and is now seeking a punishment that “may include or be limited to a reprimand” for Valieva, CAS announced in February.

The CAS hearing in Lausanne, Switzerland, adjourned in September after arbitrators asked for further documentation.

“The hearing will … resume on 9 and 10 November 2023 in Lausanne at which time the evidentiary proceedings will be completed and the Panel will hear the parties’ closing submission,” said CAS in September. “The Panel will then deliberate and prepare the Arbitral Award containing its decision.”

However, a final ruling might not come for several months, according to sports analyst Christine Brennan.

The fact that athletes from the figure skating team event at the Winter Olympics have still not been awarded their medals has been the subject of controversy.

In September, US skater Vincent Zhou said that the situation feels “surreal” given the “layers of complexity and absurdity” involved in the case.

“I don’t think any of us thought that it would take this long to resolve what was a seemingly black and white case, but here we are,” Zhou told CNN Sport’s Don Riddell. “And it still feels every bit as surreal as it did on day one.”

In September, CAS Director General Matthieu Reeb told CNN Sport that the judicial body cannot be blamed for the duration of Valieva’s case.

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