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14th Feb 2022

Kamila Valieva allowed to compete at Winter Olympics amid doping concerns

Callum Boyle

The Court of Arbitration for Sport reversed the decision to suspend the 15-year-old

Kamila Valieva has been told that she will be allowed to continue to compete at the Beijing Winter Olympics after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled that “exceptional circumstances” meant the 15-year-old should not be suspended.

CAS released a statement explaining their decision to revoke the suspension – highlighting that her young age played a contributing factor.

As per the BBCthe statement read: “The athlete should benefit from the following exceptional circumstances: She is under 16 and a protected person under the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code.”

The figure skater had been suspended after it emerged that she had tested positive for the banned substance trimetazidine on December 25 last year and had been provisionally suspended on February 8.

Valieva appealed the decision and her ban was lifted the following day by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (Rusada) and will be allowed to compete in the individual figure skating event on Tuesday (February 15) where she is the favourite to win gold.

Despite her ban being overturned, opposition athletes have been left frustrated by the decision given Russia’s previous history with doping allegations – leading to the country being banned from competing.

All 212 athletes representing Russia in Beijing are competing under the Russian Olympic Committee flag and without their national anthem as part of the sanctions imposed.

There are also concerns around how someone as young as Valieva could become embroiled in the doping controversy – with Wada confirming they will investigate the teenager’s entourage including her coaches, doctors and adults around her.

Alongside Wada, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Skating Union also launched appeals against CAS’ decision – but they were subsequently turned down.

The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) also expressed their disappointment at the outcome of the CAS hearing.

They said: “It is the collective responsibility of the entire Olympic community to protect the integrity of sport and to hold our athletes, coaches and all involved to the highest of standards.

“Athletes have the right to know they are competing on a level playing field. Unfortunately, today that is being denied. This appears to be another chapter in the systematic and pervasive disregard for clean sport by Russia.”

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