Russian figure skater Valieva gets four-year ban for doping


Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva received a four-year doping ban on Monday, effectively stripping the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) of its gold medal in the team event at the 2022 Beijing Winter Games nearly two years after the competition.

In its long-awaited ruling, the highest court in sport found Valieva guilty of committing an anti-doping rule violation that rattled the Beijing Olympics and frustrated competitors who are still waiting for their medals from the event to be allocated.

"Kamila Valieva is found to have committed an anti-doping rule violation and sanctioned with a four-year period of ineligibility commencing on 25 December 2021," the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) said.

The court added that all of Valieva's competitive results achieved since that date are voided, including the gold medal she helped ROC win in the team event at the 2022 Games.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), one of the parties that brought the case to CAS, welcomed the decision, describing it as a victory for fair sport.

"I think for WADA and for clean sport, it means that after following due process a fair result to all athletes has been rendered by the Court of Arbitration for Sport," WADA director general Olivier Niggli told Reuters.

"Even though the process might be a bit tortuous, the end result has been and is to the satisfaction of the clean athletes.

"It's been a long, long case and we acknowledge the fact that it took a long time to get resolved.

"But we had to appeal this case from a decision initially that basically cleared the athlete of any fault.

"CAS has agreed with our position, which we are pleased with."

In his response to the CAS decision, WADA President Witold Banka said the doping of minors should be a criminal offence.

"Anyone who dopes children should be in prison," Banka said in a statement.

"We encourage governments to consider criminalising the supply of performance-enhancing drugs to minors."

Russian athletes already faced scrutiny at the 2022 Games over separate doping sanctions and competed in Beijing as ROC athletes, without their flag or national anthem as punishment for tampering with laboratory data that could have identified drug cheats.

Russia denied running a state-sponsored doping programme.

In comments carried by RIA news agency, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov dismissed Monday's ruling as politically motivated.

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