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Olympics-Probe into role of Valieva’s entourage would be welcomed by IOC

Randy Mancini 2 Feb 11
Figure Skating - Training
2022 Beijing Olympics - Figure Skating - Training - Training Rink Capital Indoor Stadium, Beijing, China - February 11, 2022. Kamila Valieva of the Russian Olympic Committee during training REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina

February 12, 2022

By Karolos Grohmann

BEIJING (Reuters) -Olympic officials on Saturday said they would welcome an anti-doping investigation into the Russian doctors, coaches and family members in the entourage of gold medal winning teenage skater Kamila Valieva.

Valieva’s future at the Beijing Olympics hangs in the balance after the stunning revelation she had tested positive for a banned substance before winning the team event on Monday, but that the positive drug test report took more than six weeks to be made public.

Fans of figure skating, athletes and anti-doping advocates have expressed outrage over a teenager being dragged into the centre of an Olympic doping controversy with a positive test for an angina drug. Many have questioned the role of the adults around the 15-year-old skater.

On Saturday, International Olympics Committee spokesman Mark Adams said: “Entourage has been overlooked in the past.”

The delay in Valieva receiving her positive drug test result also loomed large on Saturday as Olympic and anti-doping officials sought to reinstate her ban.

Valieva was suspended by the Russian anti-doping body after the positive test report, but the suspension was lifted a day later after she appealed, allowing her to continue to compete. Her next event, the women’s single, is on Tuesday.

More than six weeks went by between Valieva’s sample being taken on Dec. 25 and Feb. 8 when she was notified by a lab in Stockholm, Sweden that she had tested positive for the banned heart medication trimetazidine.

The Stockholm lab is accredited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) and the Russian Anti-Doping Association have questioned the timeline.

On Saturday, the International Olympic Committee said the delay was a question for WADA.

“I can’t speak directly about the delay,” Adam said. “It was a WADA-sanctioned lab in Stockholm so that is a question that should be directed to WADA.”

WADA could not be immediately contacted by Reuters.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) have asked the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/sports/valievas-future-be-decided-closed-door-boardroom-not-ice-rink-2022-02-11) to reinstate Kalieva’s suspension.

The IOC said on Saturday that the hearing date would not be made public.

(Editing by Leela de Kretser; Editing by Michael Perry)