Russians speak of harassment: skating prodigy faces long ban after Olympic scandal

The waiting is coming to an end: the Cas Sports Court has taken over the doping case of figure skater Kamila Valiewa.

Russians speak of harassment: skating prodigy faces long ban after Olympic scandal

The waiting is coming to an end: the Cas Sports Court has taken over the doping case of figure skater Kamila Valiewa. The world agency Wada calls for a four-year ban. In the teenager's Russian homeland, one is certain: "Valieva was clean!"

Secrecy, delay, outrage: The clarification of the doping case of figure skater Kamila Valiyeva has not progressed for almost nine months. Also because it has become a plaything for Russian propaganda in the war of aggression against Ukraine. Now there has been movement in the scandalous affair: at the request of the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada), the International Court of Arbitration for Sports (Cas) took over the cause and took away the decision from the Russian agency (Rusada).

Wada is convinced of a doping violation and applied to Cas for a four-year ban for the 16-year-old European champion. In addition, all medals, points and prizes that she has won since the positive doping test for the heart drug trimetazidine on December 25, 2021 should be revoked, the Cas announced. "We cannot comment on that," said Rusada boss Veronika Loginowa, who let Wada's deadline for solving the case pass until November 4 and wanted to keep the investigation and judgment secret anyway.

Moscow has repeatedly portrayed the investigation into Valiyeva as an anti-Russian campaign. "It's pure politics," says "Sport 24". And: "They continue to harass the Russian in Wada," writes the "Sportbox" portal. The World Anti-Doping Agency has not been a popular organization since the discovery and sanctioning of nationwide doping in Russia until the Olympic exclusion.

The case is extremely complicated from a legal point of view, as was shown at the Winter Olympics in Beijing in February, where the alleged doping offense first became public. And that was after Valiyeva became Olympic champion with the Russian team. Since she was only 15 at the time, she was considered a "protected person" under the World Anti-Doping Code, whose identity should not have been disclosed. The secrecy failed. Her legally enforced start in women's singles ended as a scandal with a freestyle in tears on fourth place in the Olympics.

"It's terrible. A four-year ban? It's a disaster," said well-known Russian coach Alexander Schulin. Kamila Valiyeva isn't just a talent, one could say "she's a genius - and it's so easy to ruin her." It's all double standards. For Dmitry Svishchev, a member of the State Duma Committee on Sport, this development comes as no surprise: "Vada could not have acted differently. We simply have to prepare for defense." The Cas has not yet been able to specify when a verdict will be announced.

In the great figure skating nation of Russia, the development of the doping case is being followed closely. Most commentators are not overly optimistic about the outcome. The "Sport 24" portal, for example, suspects that Rusada simply avoided making a decision - because she already suspects that Valiyeva will ultimately be found guilty at an international level.

But that doesn't detract from their popularity - on the contrary. Many people at home are convinced that the celebrated child prodigy is in fact innocent. "I'm not familiar with all the nuances, but Valiyeva is clean," said former star coach Tatyana Tarasova recently. "It can't be any other way."

At the World Figure Skating Championships in Montpellier in March, Valiyeva, like all Russian skaters, was not allowed to start as a result of the war against Ukraine. At the end of October, the quadruple jumper was back on the ice at a national competition in Moscow. Questions about her doping case were taboo. "It was clear that I wouldn't say anything on this subject," said Valiyeva snotty, emphasizing: "It's cool that I'm back on the ice. I was full of adrenaline again, that was a good feeling."

The US figure skating team, which took silver in front of Japan in Beijing and could still be promoted to Olympic champions, is fed up with waiting for a verdict and wants clarification quickly - and the right medal awarded. "It was very disappointing, but the disappointment seems to get bigger as the days and months go by," lamented US ice dancer Evan Bates, who competed in Beijing with partner Madison Chock.

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