Winter Olympics: Emotional Valieva on course for controversial gold

By Sports Desk February 15, 2022 669

Kamila Valieva showed her emotions under the spotlight after putting herself on course for a controversial figure skating singles gold medal in Beijing on Tuesday.

The 15-year-old Russian was contentiously cleared to go for the individual title on Monday despite testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.

Valieva was given the green light to compete at the Capital Indoor Stadium due to "exceptional circumstances", largely due to the teenager's age ensuring she is considered to be a "protected person" under World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) rules.

After helping the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) secure team figure skating gold last week, Valieva headed into the individual event as the favourite to take the title.

The Kazan-born sensation, who tested positive for trimetazidine in December, was cheered when she skated out to begin her short program routine.

Valieva made a mistake when she failed to land a triple axel but put that behind her like a champion to ensure she leads heading into the free skate on Thursday.

She avoided hitting the deck when making that error and showed her class to earn a score of 82.16 from the judges. 

Valieva looked very emotional on the ice after a difficult time for the youngster, who could have found herself thrown out of the Games.

Fellow Russian Anna Shcherbakova is in second spot following her score of 80.20, with Kaori Sakamoto (79.84) of Japan in third.

Denis Oswald, chair of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) disciplinary commission, revealed earlier in the day that Valieva claimed she may have failed a drugs test after accidentally consuming medication belonging to her grandfather.

"Her argument was contamination which happened with a product her grandfather was taking," Oswald told reporters.

Trimetazidine is a medication that prevents angina attacks but is banned by WADA because it aids blood flow to the heart.

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Last modified on Tuesday, 15 February 2022 10:26
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