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Winter Olympics: Kamila Valieva’s entourage to be investigated by Wada

Hosts: Beijing, China Dates: 4-20 February
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button and online; listen on BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC Sounds; live text and highlights on BBC Sport website and mobile app

Scrutiny of those around Kamila Valieva has increased after the World Anti-Doping Agency said it will investigate the adults working with the teenager.

The 15-year-old Russian’s failed drugs test has cast a dark cloud over the Beijing Winter Olympics, with her age prompting questions over how a child became embroiled in suspected doping.

The figure skater was training in Beijing on Sunday, hours before a hearing to determine her Olympic fate.

She came here tipped for women’s gold.

The Russian, who failed a drugs test in December, will hear on Monday if she can compete in the individual women’s event in Beijing on Tuesday and if she is being stripped of team gold.

A hearing is set for Sunday at 12:30 GMT and a Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) panel will then decide whether to suspend her.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) had earlier called for global anti-doping body Wada to investigate her entourage.

Hours later, Wada said it would ask its independent intelligence and investigations department to look into the coaches, doctors and other adults surrounding her.

Remember ‘human side of story’

valieva
Kamila Valieva’s training has been watched by soft toys as well as global media

Valieva has continued to train amid the uncertainty and media attention, sometimes looking tearful.

The soft toys at the rink are a reminder of her tender age and the reason why this case has been even more shocking than other failed drugs tests.

Olympic Games executive director Christophe Dubi said it was important to remember the “human side of this story… to think about a person of 15 in this situation”.

“We need to treat this situation extremely carefully.”

At times in practice Valieva has been embraced by her coach Eteri Tutberidze, who herself is under the spotlight.

In a brief interview with Russian state television, Tutberidze said she was certain the teenager was “clean and innocent”.

Valieva’s future in hands of three-person panel

The IOC says the Cas hearing will only be about the lifting of Valieva’s provisional suspension, which was imposed by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (Rusada).

The full case will be heard by Rusada because the drug test was at a national competition, but Wada can appeal against any decision.

Valieva returned a positive test for the banned substance trimetazidine at the Russian Figure Skating Championships on 25 December.

But it was only reported on 8 February, the day after she became the first female skater to land a quadruple jump at an Olympics to help the Russian Olympic Committee team win gold.

When the issue came to light, the medal ceremony was postponed at short notice.

The medals for the team event – in which the United States finished second, Japan third and Canada fourth – will not be awarded until after the outcome of the hearing.

Trimetazidine is used in the prevention of angina attacks but is on the banned list because it is classed as a cardiac metabolic modulator and has been proven to improve physical efficiency.

Valieva has been allowed to train after a successful challenge against her provisional suspension by Rusada.

She is the favourite to win and was flawless in training on Sunday, landing her quadruple jumps.

But the IOC, Wada and the International Skating Union (ISU) have now appealed to Cas against Rusada’s decision to allow her to continue.

The Cas panel will consist of president Fabio Iudica of Italy and arbitrators Jeffrey Benz, of the United States, and Slovenian Vesna Bergant Rakocevic.

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