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Valieva's entourage targeted by IOC as Valieva hearing looms

Valieva's entourage targeted by IOC as Valieva hearing looms

2022 Beijing Olympics - Figure Skating - Training Rink Capital Indoor Stadium, Beijing, China - February 12, 2022. Kamila Valieva of the Russian Olympic Committee during training with the Russian Olympic Committee coach Eteri Tutberidze REUTERS/Aleksandra Szmigiel

BEIJING: The International Olympic Committee (IOC) asked the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to investigate the entourage of Kamila Valieva as the teenage Russian figure skater awaits her fate in a doping case at the Beijing Olympics on Sunday (Feb 13).

A Court of Arbitration for Sport's (CAS) hearing is scheduled to take place later on Sunday after the IOC, the International Skating Union (ISU) and WADA appealed against the lifting of the 15-year-old's provisional suspension by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA).

Valieva tested positive for a banned heart drug at her national championships last December but it took more than six weeks for the result to be made public.

Her future at the Beijing Games and a gold for the Russian Olympic Committee in the team event that she dominated on Monday now hangs in the balance amid a global outcry over Moscow's doping history.

"This is a constantly moving target, and we are continuing to work on this. We have an entourage commission...we want WADA to investigate the entourage in this case. A whole range of things have been done," IOC spokesman Mark Adams told a news conference on Sunday.

"Our response continues to improve and address entourage issues."

Valieva is one of the youngest athletes ever to have a positive test revealed at the Olympics, in a case that has prompted outrage from fans, athletes and anti-doping advocates around the world.

Many have questioned the role of the adults around the teenage skater and the continuing scourge of Russian doping in international sports.

Valieva's coach Eteri Tutberidze said she was certain Valieva was "clean and innocent" in an interview with Russian state television on Saturday.

The CAS hearing, however, will solely focus on the lifting of Valieva's suspension, which was decided by RUSADA on Wednesday, a day after she was notified of her positive test.

Adams insisted the matter was being expedited as quickly as possible.

Valieva will be notified of CAS's ruling on Monday, one day before she is due to take the ice for the women's single event.

"We want this to be expedited as quickly as possible, this is why it is going to the adhoc court this evening and you will have a resolution on Monday," Adams said.

"We want a very, very quick resolution."

The Valiera doping case will be heard by RUSADA given the drug test was at a national competition, but WADA can appeal any decision.

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Source: Reuters/aj


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