Sports

Kamila Valieva allowed to compete in Beijing after CAS ruling


Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva will be allowed to compete in the women’s figure skating competition at the Beijing Olympics after a decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Monday.

CAS cited the fact Valieva is a “protected person” under World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) rules as one of the exceptional circumstances underpinning its decision.

The teen skating prodigy was on the ice 30 minutes after the decision, practicing with her Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) teammates ahead of the start of the singles short program on Tuesday.

“Let’s go Kamila!” Russian ice dancer Nikita Katsalapov said at the Capital Indoor Stadium after winning a silver medal and learning about the decision.

Preventing Valieva from competing at the Olympics would have caused the 15-year-old irreparable harm, CAS said in its ruling

The figure skater is one of the youngest athletes to face a doping charge during the Olympics, prompting global outrage at the role of the adults around her and the continuing scourge of Russian doping in international sports.

“This appears to be another chapter in the systematic and pervasive disregard for clean sport by Russia,” United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) CEO Sarah Hirshland said in a statement released after the decision.

The result of the positive drug test was not revealed until Feb. 8, after Valieva had already competed in the team event at the Winter Games, dazzling the world with the first quad jumps completed by a woman in Olympic competition.

CAS emphasized the “serious issues of untimely notification of the results” in its decision.

“Such late notification was not her fault, in the middle of the Olympic Winter Games,” the ruling said.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC), WADA and the International Skating Union (ISU) had appealed the Russian Anti-Doping Agency’s decision to lift Valieva’s provisional suspension.

The CAS ruling did not address the merits of Valieva’s drug case.

“We know this case is not yet closed, and we call on everyone in the Olympic Movement to continue to fight for clean sport on behalf of athletes around the world,” Hirshland added.

Earlier, IOC spokesman Mark Adams said the awarding of medals for the team event cannot go ahead until the doping case is addressed.

It is not clear whether other members of the ROC team can receive gold medals. Second-placed Team USA and Japan in third are also waiting in the wings. Canada finished fourth.

“That will probably not be sorted out during this Games and that is something regrettable, but we have to follow the process,” Adams said.

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