BEIJING — The three-person panel of arbitrators that ruled in favor of Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva, allowing her to compete at the Olympics, criticized the length of time it took for the doping test result to be reported. Her sample in question, which contained the banned substance trimetazidine, was collected Dec. 25 and received by the Swedish lab for analysis onDec. 29. The lab did not report the result until the early morning hours of Feb. 8 in Beijing, after Valieva had begun competing at these Games.
Part of the defense presented by Valieva’s representatives was that the delay in reporting “has de facto made it impossible for the Athlete to conduct timely investigation and bring actual proof of the contamination. Therefore, it would be highly unfair and disproportionate to make the Athlete bear the consequences of such irregular delay.”
The World Anti-Doping Agency’s handbook that outlines the international standard for laboratories says the reporting of the results from the A sample of a drug test should occur within 20 days of receipt of the sample.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport’s report noted that the 40 days it took to report Valieva’s result “is well within the range of what WADA usually or often sees from laboratories processing anti-doping samples.”
But the report added: “It is rather worrying to hear such a submission when Athletes are held to a high standard in meeting their anti-doping obligations and at the same time, the anti-doping authorities are subject to mere recommendations on time deadlines that are designed to protect athletes from late- or inconveniently-arising claims.”
Athlete samples are anonymous, but the court’s report said labs should process tests quickly when they are collected at selection events entering the Olympics. Valieva’s sample was collected during the Russian national championships.
The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) issued a statement saying the laboratory informed the agency that “the delay in analysis and reporting by the Laboratory was caused by another wave of covid-19, an increase in illness among Laboratory staff and quarantine rules.”