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WADA welcomes Russian skater suspension, slams ‘doping of children’

The World Anti-Doping Agency welcomed a four-year ban handed down by the Court of Arbitration for Sport on Monday to teenage Russian skater Kamila Valieva for failing a doping test prior to the 2022 Winter Olympics.

“The doping of children is unforgivable,” WADA said in a statement, which also called for action under its code against doctors, coaches and other support personnel who are found to have provided performance-enhancing substances to minors.

“WADA encourages governments to consider passing legislation — as some have done already — making the doping of minors a criminal offense,” it said.

Valieva was just 15 when she tested positive, raising questions not just about her guilt and the Russian Olympic system after the Sochi Winter Games of 2014 but also how she was treated as a minor, the way the test was conducted and the value of the drug involved for enhancing performance. 

In Beijing in February 2022, Valieva became the first female skater to land a quadruple jump in Olympic competition, helping Russia secure gold in the team event.

The next day, she was told she had tested positive before the Games for trimetazidine, a drug used to treat angina but banned for athletes.

The case came to the Court of Arbitration for Sport following Valieva’s exoneration by Russia’s anti-doping agency (RUSADA). 

WADA and the International Skating Union then appealed RUSADA’s ruling, as did RUSADA itself. The appeal was heard in September.

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