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WADA forced to hear the doping case of the Russian figure skater Valieva

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — The World Anti-Doping Agency said Tuesday it has referred the case of teenage Beijing Olympic figure skater Kamila Valieva to the sport’s highest court, accusing Russian officials of a “lack of progress” in resolving it.

With rarely used powers, WADA can take cases out of the hands of national agencies and refer them directly to CAS if it can show they are not being dealt with in a timely manner, in accordance with international anti-doping rules.

Russia’s anti-doping agency, known as RUSADA, said last month it was preparing to hold a hearing but did not release the verdict because Valieva was just 15 when she tested positive.

“Despite the fact that RUSADA was sent an official warning about the immediate resolution of Kamila Valieva’s case, there was no progress. I can therefore confirm that WADA has now officially referred this directly to the Court of Arbitration for Sport,” WADA President Witold Banka wrote on Twitter.

Last month, WADA warned Russian officials to expedite an investigation that could result in the United States team receiving silver medals instead of gold.

The case at the Sports Court in Lausanne, Switzerland, could still be heard for several months.

The previous panel of CAS judges allowed Valieva to compete in the women’s individual competition in Beijing even under suspicion of doping.

Valieva won Olympic gold in the team event before it was revealed she had tested positive for a banned substance ahead of the Beijing Games at the Russian competition in December 2020. The coronavirus pandemic caused delays in the laboratory tasked with testing the sample, and Valieva reported this only once she was at the Olympics.

She appealed the suspension and was cleared to ride in the women’s individual event, finishing fourth. While anti-doping procedures continued in Russia, Valieva performed at national competitions.

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