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11 Feb, 2022 15:31

Russian anti-doping chiefs probing Valieva’s team

Russian anti-doping chiefs probing Valieva’s team

The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) has announced that figure skating sensation Kamila Valieva's entourage will be probed as part of the Winter Olympics star's doping case.

The 15-year-old is a 'protected person' under World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) rules about minors, meaning her team must be automatically investigated as part of a requirement for countries to "vigorously pursue" doping violations.

The favorite for the women's single skate competition is awaiting the conclusion of a hearing involving the International Olympic Committee (IOC), International Skating Union (ISU) and Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) at the Beijing Games.

Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) judges, who have a base in Beijing for the Games, are set to decide whether Valieva will be allowed to continue to compete after it was announced that she tested positive for banned substance trimetazidine in December.

"Due to the fact that the athlete is a minor, RAA RUSADA initiated an investigation into the athlete's personnel," the agency said in a statement, adding that it received the results of the sample on February 7.

"The purpose of this investigation is to identify all the circumstances of a possible anti-doping rule violation in the interests of a 'protected person'."

WADA rules state that athlete support personnel have to be investigated in anti-doping cases involving protected persons.

The harshest available penalty is lifetime ineligibility from sports that have doping rules overseen by WADA.

Team members can also be reported to the relevant authorities if they are found to have also violated non-sporting laws and regulations.

RUSADA allowed Valieva to train and compete in Beijing after she successfully appealed against her initial provisional suspension, which was announced a day after she played a starring role in Russia winning team figure skating gold.

WADA is appealing to the CAS in a bid to overturn that decision, claiming it has "not been correctly applied".

The case is expected to resolve the issue over the non performance-enhancing heart drug before the start of the singles competition on February 15. The Games continue until February 20.