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Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva cleared by RUSADA, WADA to review doping decision and consider appeal

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The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) found figure skater Kamila Valieva violated anti-doping rules but bore no “fault or negligence” for the transgression, according to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

The ruling in effect clears Valieva of wrongdoing and administers no punishment beyond the disqualification of her results from December 25, 2021 – the date of her sample collection.

The decision, made by a RUSADA tribunal, would allow the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) to earn the gold medals won in the team figure skating event at the Beijing Olympics in 2022.

CNN has reached out to RUSADA for comment.

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The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) released a statement implying it is likely to appeal the verdict.

Ice skating set to gradually raise minimum competition age from 15 to 17 after Kamila Valieva doping scandal

 

“WADA notes this outcome and has requested a copy of the full reasoned decision, which it will review together with the case file in order to determine whether the ruling is in line with the terms of the World Anti-Doping Code,” it said in a statement.

“However, based on the elements of the case with which WADA is already familiar, the Agency is concerned by the finding of ‘no fault or negligence’ and will not hesitate to exercise its right of appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, as appropriate.

“Following a full review of the RUSADA decision, WADA will consider what its next steps will be so that the matter is dealt with as quickly as possible and without further undue delay.”

Travis Tygart, CEO of the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), said in a statement to CNN: “WADA and the ISU [International Skating Union] have to appeal this decision, for the sake of the credibility of the anti-doping system and the rights of all athletes.

Kamila Valieva: Figure skater could not have achieved ‘perfection’ while doping, says Vladimir Putin

 

“The world can’t possibly accept this self-serving decision by RUSADA, which in the recent past has been a key instrument of Russia’s state sponsored doping fraud and is non-compliant. Justice demands a full, fair, public hearing outside of Russia.”

Valieva, who is now 16, was suspended by RUSADA the day after she guided the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) to victory in the team event in Beijing, where she became the first woman to land a quadruple jump in the Winter Olympics.

She tested positive for a banned substance – the heart medication trimetazidine, which can enhance endurance – in December 2021. But the results of the failed December drug test only came to light during the Olympics when it was analyzed and reported to RUSADA.

Valieva has not publicly explained the positive test results.

Team USA finished second in the team event in Beijing, Japan in third, and Canada fourth. As a result of the doping controversy, no medal ceremony was held during the Games.

CNN has reached out to the ISU and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for comment.

In a statement to CNN, the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee said: “As we approach the one-year anniversary of the Beijing Games, it remains very important that the figure skating team event athletes who competed in Beijing get the resolution they deserve.

“We thank WADA for their commitment to reviewing this issue and moving the process forward as expeditiously as possible.”

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Novak Djokovic shares message to Australian Open runner-up Elena Rybakina – Tennis World USA

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Novak Djokovic congratulated Australian Open runner-up Elena Rybakina on “an amazing tournament.” On Saturday, 23-year-old Rybakina fell just short of landing her second Grand Slam title. In the Australian Open final, Rybakina was up by a set before 24-year-old Aryna Sabalenka stormed back to win 4-6 6-3 6-4.

Six months ago, Djokovic and Rybakina lifted titles at Wimbledon. “@lenarybakina, amazing tournament,” Djokovic captioned his Instagram Story.

Djokovic congratulates Rybakina

Rybakina has now made Grand Slam finals in two of the last three Major tournaments.

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After winning Wimbledon and finishing as runner-up at the Australian Open, Rybakina admits her confidence levels have increased and she now believes even more that she can win Grand Slams. “For sure, that’s the goal, to be in the second week of all the Grand Slam, to play finals.

I mean, now I have more confidence of course even after this final. I just need to work hard, same as I did during pre-season and actually throughout the years, be healthy, and for sure the results are going to come. I would say I’m trying to not think about expectations and everything.

Still after a great pre-season like this I was thinking I should show it on the court. Then, of course, the results are going to be there. First few weeks was not that great…but I think in the end it’s just confidence to go forward, to keep on working.

I feel now good physically also. I know if I’m going to keep on working, the results are going to be (good),” Rybakina said after the match, per Tennis Majors. Rybakina has proved over the last six months that she has what it takes to be a legitimate Grand Slam contender.

En route to reaching the Australian Open final, Rybakina defeated world No 1 Iga Swiatek. It will be interesting to see how will Rybakina do after a strong Australian Open run.

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Maple Leafs’ Murray dealing with ankle injury, Samsonov to start vs. Capitals – Sportsnet.ca

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Bo Horvat puts up four assists as Canucks top Blue Jackets – Sportsnet.ca

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