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28 Dec, 2022 11:29

Russian anti-doping boss rejects criticism over Valieva case

Veronika Loginova dismissed the notion that her agency had failed to reach a decision promptly enough
Russian anti-doping boss rejects criticism over Valieva case

The general director of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), Veronika Loginova, has hit back at accusations that her organization has mishandled the investigation involving teenage figure skater Kamila Valieva.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) filed an appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in November, arguing that RUSADA had not reached a decision on Valieva “within a reasonable deadline.”

It emerged at the Beijing Winter Olympics in February that Valieva – then aged 15 – had tested positive for the banned heart medication trimetazidine based on a sample collected in December 2021.

RUSADA announced in September that a disciplinary hearing would potentially take place in October, but later stated that any decision would remain confidential due to Valieva’s age and status as a “protected person.”

Speaking to TASS this week, general director Loginova rejected accusations that the investigation had dragged on unnecessarily.

“We do not agree with the claim that RUSADA failed to organize the hearings on time,” said Loginova.

“Now everyone needs to be patient and not spread false information in the media. 

“We officially announced our position, namely, our intention not to publicly disclose any details of the progress of the consideration of [Valieva’s] case.

“We were guided by the fact that the disclosure of such information would not benefit any of the parties involved in the case. 

“The right of public disclosure remains with us, and when the final decision on the case is made, we will return to this issue,” added the RUSADA official.

Loginova noted that Valieva’s case had involved investigating members of her entourage, with the skater coached by the renowned Eteri Tutberidze.  

“RUSADA did not delay the processing of the results at any stage. There was an investigation into the personnel who worked with the underage athlete, we were obliged to conduct it and we always investigate in cases where it concerns protected persons,” said Loginova.

“The investigation was carried out within a reasonable time frame and was conducted in cooperation with WADA’s Investigation Department.”

Valieva’s positive test was announced after she had already helped her country to win the gold medal in the figure skating team event at the Beijing Games.

Valieva was cleared to compete in the women’s individual event at an emergency CAS hearing in Beijing, but ended a disappointing fourth despite being the strong favorite for gold.

Should Valieva be punished by CAS, the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) would stand to lose its figure skating team gold medal, with the USA being promoted to first place, Japan rising to silver, and Canada taking bronze.

Valieva and her fellow Russian skaters are currently banned from international events due to sanctions imposed by the International Skating Union (ISU) because of the conflict in Ukraine.