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CAS ignored anti-doping code, says WADA

The World Anti-Doping Agency has accused the Court of Arbitration for Sport of ignoring the world anti-doping code when it upheld a decision that let Kamila Valieva skate at the Beijing Olympics.

Valieva was cleared to compete at the Games after Russian anti-doping authorities lifted her provisional suspension.

CAS ruled on Monday that Valieva should be allowed to compete in the women’s figure skating competition despite having failed a drug test at her national championships last December.

The drug test result was only revealed on February 8, a day after Valieva helped the Russian Olympic Committee win the team event at the Beijing Games.

In its reasoned decision published on Friday, CAS said it went with the Disciplinary Committee (DADC) of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency’s argument that the 15-year-old Valieva, being a “protected person”, did not need to meet the usual standards to prove that she did not willingly take the banned heart drug that was shown in her positive test.

“The Committee (DADC) considered that the Athlete established, at least at the ‘reasonable possibility’ level and at the maximum at the ‘balance of probability’ level, that the violation resulted from the ingestion of a contaminated product,” CAS said.

Valieva’s defence had argued that the positive test resulted from a mix-up with her grandfather’s heart drug, trimetazidine.

“In the DADC’s opinion, in fact, the athlete could have consumed a product which has been contaminated by the drugs used in her inner circle,” CAS continued.

That explanation did not satisfy, WADA, who said that a “protected perso” – an under-16 athlete – should not be treated differently as far as provisional suspensions are concerned.

“In effect, by making this award, the CAS panel has re-written the code to say that mandatory provisional suspensions for ‘protected persons’ shall now be considered as optional provisional suspensions,” WADA said in a statement.

“This is not what the code says, not what the code drafters intended and was never proposed by any of WADA’s stakeholders during the three rounds of code consultation.

“This re-writing of the code, which would apparently allow ‘protected persons’ to continue competing after testing positive for non-specified substances without any clarification of the circumstances, risks undermining the integrity of sporting competition and the confidence of athletes that they are competing on a level playing field.”

Valieva topped the women’s competition standings after the short program on Tuesday, but crumbled under pressure in Thursday’s free skate and dropped to fourth, out of the medals.

Her 17-year-old compatriot Anna Shcherbakova won the event.

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