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Teen figure skater Valieva cleared to compete at Beijing Olympics

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ussia’s 15-year-old figure skater Kamila Valieva has been cleared to compete in tomorrow’s individual women’s competition despite her failed drugs test.

Valieva tested positive for the banned substance trimetazidine following a sample taken on Christmas Day but she was not informed of the positive until February 8, the day after helping the Russian Olympic Committee win team gold on the ice.

The teenager was provisionally suspended by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency before Rusada lifted the suspension on appeal and then the International Olympic Committee, World Anti-Doping Agency and International Skating Union appealed that overturned decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

On Monday, the three-person CAS panel sitting in Beijing ruled that Valieva could continue to compete at the Winter Olympics.

It concluded: “On the basis of the very limited facts of this case and after consideration of the relevant legal issues, it has been determined that no provisional suspension should be imposed on the athlete.”

The panel said it had reached its conclusion owing to a number of “exceptional circumstances”, including the age of the athlete who at 15 falls under the “protected person” criteria in the WADA code.

The trio also deemed that the test in question had not taken place at the Olympic Games and were critical of the late notification around her positive sample. It decided that any continued suspension and therefore “preventing the athlete from competing would cause her irreparable harm in these circumstances”.

Valieva could yet be suspended from all competition following a full investigation after the Games, while the CAS panel did not rule on the allocation of medals in the team figure skating which still have not been awarded and are unlikely to be at these Games.

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