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11 Feb, 2022 07:18

‘Serious questions’ over timing of Valieva doping result – Russian Olympic boss

The head of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) has demanded clarity over the timeframe of skater Kamila Valieva's positive test for a banned substance
‘Serious questions’ over timing of Valieva doping result – Russian Olympic boss

Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) president Stanislav Pozdnyakov has questioned the timing of the positive doping test which is threatening the future of figure skating star Kamila Valieva.

Valieva, 15, is fighting to remain at the Beijing Games after international testing officials announced on Friday that she had returned a positive result for a sample taken during the Russian national championships on December 25.

The sample was analyzed at a laboratory accredited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in Stockholm, Sweden. According to a statement from the International Testing Agency (ITA), the result for the banned heart drug trimetazidine was only reported on February 8 – one day after Valieva had helped the ROC to gold in the figure skating team event in Beijing, where they finished ahead of the rivals from the USA and Japan.   

After being informed, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) then imposed a provisional suspension on Valieva, which she successfully appealed on February 9 – leaving her clear to train and compete in Beijing.

However, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Skating (ISU) are both seeking a reimposition of that suspension and are taking their case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Russian Olympic official Pozdnyakov said he has concerns about the timing of the positive result, and why it was only reported after Valieva had already competed in China.

“I have serious questions about the timeframe that passed between December 25, when the sample was taken in St. Petersburg, and February 8, when it was made public,” Pozdnyakov told journalists in Beijing.

“In accordance with international standards for laboratories of the World Anti-Doping Agency, the deadline for an A Sample is 20 days from the moment the sample was received in the laboratory.

“It looks very strange that it took almost a month for the sample to get from St. Petersburg to Stockholm.

“This raises very serious questions for me. It seems like someone held this probe until the end of the team skating competition [in Beijing].

“I can’t remember any previous situation when it took so long for a result.”

CAS is set to hear Valieva’s case before she is due to compete in the ladies’ singles figure skating in Beijing, which begins on Tuesday, February 15.

The Russian star is the reigning European champion and world record holder for points scores for both the ladies' short and free programs, as well as the overall points tally.