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22 Oct, 2022 14:40

Valieva refuses doping case questions on Moscow return

The figure skater is performing at a Grand Prix in her homeland this weekend
Valieva refuses doping case questions on Moscow return

Russian figure skating prodigy Kamila Valieva declined to comment on developments in her anti-doping case after the teenager returned to competitive action in Moscow on Saturday.

Valieva, 16, is appearing in the first of a series of Grand Prix events organized in Russia as compensation for the nation’s skaters, who are currently banned from international competition because of the conflict in Ukraine.

Valieva’s performance comes after officials at the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) announced on Friday that they intend to keep the details of their investigation into the figure skater confidential, citing her status as a “protected person” because of her age.

Valieva returned a positive sample for banned heart drug trimetazidine at last year’s Russian national championship, although the result was only reported at the Beijing Winter Olympics in February – after she had already helped her country to the gold medal in the team event.

Officials at the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) have reserved the right to challenge the outcome of the RUSADA investigation, should they see fit.

WADA indicated to Russian media on Saturday that it expects some degree of public disclosure regarding Valieva’s case.

Valieva herself refused to be drawn on the issue when questioned on Saturday, telling the Russian media “I won’t say anything about it,” according to RIA Novosti.

Valieva’s team have maintained her innocence throughout the scandal.

It was argued at an emergency Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) hearing in Beijing that the positive result may have come from contamination with heart medication her grandfather was taking.

Officials have also said Valieva passed numerous other doping tests, while questions have been asked about the delay with the WADA-accredited laboratory in Stockholm reporting her positive result.   

In Moscow on Saturday, Valieva led the way in the women’s Grand Prix competition after scoring 83.92 points for her short skate program.

That is some way off the world record score of 90.45 Valieva set last season, although she later told journalists she was finding her way back to form after injury.   

Sofia Akateva, 15, is second after earning 72.70 points for her routine in Moscow, while fellow 15-year-old Anastasia Zinina was rewarded with a score of 70.19 points, which was good enough for third place.

Valieva has unveiled routines this season which draw upon the theme of her Beijing Olympic ordeal – in particular her new free skate program.

While she was ultimately cleared to compete in the individual women’s event in the Chinese capital back in February, Valieva finished a disappointing fourth as the pressure of her doping case took its toll.

“In the free program, I tell my (Olympic) story. My story has not gone away after all,” Valieva told journalists on Saturday.

“Outwardly, maybe everything is fine, but internally it will remain anyway. Here you just remove one of your layers and go out to tell (your story).”

Valieva and her fellow competitors will perform their free skate routines at the ‘Golden Skates of Moscow’ event at the MegaSport complex on Sunday.

Valieva is also scheduled to perform at the Kazan stage of the Russian Grand Prix series in November.