The Russian Anti-Doping Agency has handed down its verdict in the Olympic drama involving Kamila Waliyeva and is earning indignation. The case also raises questions about Thomas Bach’s Russia course.

WADA is “concerned” and threatens further legal action, America’s number one doping hunter cannot “possibly accept” RUSADA’s “self-serving decision” – and the IOC initially remained silent: The case of Russian figure skating princess Kamila Waliyeva is well on the way to becoming a never-ending story.

After a long period of hesitation, a tribunal of the Russian anti-doping agency RUSADA has finally handed down its verdict in the case of the European champion: after the positive test before the Winter Olympics in Beijing, which RUSADA itself had taken, it has decided not to impose a penalty on the 16-year-old.

Even almost a year after the Olympics, the rating in the team competition thus remains with an asterisk.

Kamila Waliyeva: The Olympic farce never ends

Russia with an impressive Valeyeva had triumphed last February – but no medals were awarded because during the Beijing Games a urine sample of Valeyeva, taken at the Russian Championships in mid-December 2021, contained the banned substance trimetazidine.

The ad hoc commission of the International Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) nevertheless allowed Valiyeva to take part in the individual decision in Beijing a few days later.

After first place in the short programme, the exceptional talent collapsed under public pressure in the free skate and fell back to fourth place. Since then there has been a standstill. In many respects.

Russia began its war of aggression on Ukraine a few days after the Olympic fire went out. The sporting nation – which competed in Beijing without its country name, flag and anthem because of doping violations – and its athletes initially disappeared from the international scene. And with it, to a certain extent, the case of Waliyeva.

Russian tribunal sees a violation, but no guilt

WADA, however, kept up the pressure on RUSADA, which was still banned until 17 December 2022. Because the Russians kept dragging out the case, the World Anti-Doping Agency called CAS. And given the latest developments, it is likely to call on the court in Lausanne once again; in any case, WADA expressly reserved the right to challenge the decision in its statement.

The RUSADA tribunal had previously concluded that Valiyeva had indeed committed an anti-doping rule violation, but that “no guilt or negligence” had been established. It also said that Valiyeva, who was 15 years old when the positive sample was taken, should be considered a “protected person”.

The result of the dictum seems like a doping-free pass, which in addition to Valiyeva also releases her controversial environment with trainer Eteri Tutberidze and the medical advisor Filipp Shvetskyi, who has a doping ban, from any responsibility.

WADA is now requesting the full reasons for the verdict to determine whether it is compatible with the World Anti-Doping Code.

Thomas Bach’s course also comes under critical scrutiny

Others have already given their verdict, such as Hajo Seppelt. “Ridiculous – this is happening in non-democratic, non-transparent sports structures. Russian sport does not seem to be able to build credible independent structures. But the IOC wants Russian athletes in Paris,” the ARD doping expert wrote on Twitter – and thus also drew attention to the controversial course of federation president Thomas Bach, who has repeatedly been accused of being too soft in his dealings with Russia and the Putin system.

For Travis Tygart, head of the US agency USADA, there is no getting away from it. WADA and the world skating federation ISU would have to “appeal this decision to preserve the credibility of the anti-doping system and the rights of all athletes.” The world could not “possibly accept this self-serving decision. Justice demands a full, fair and public hearing outside Russia,” Tygart continued.