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Olympics-Figure skating-Russian media say teen star tested positive for banned drug

INTERNATIONAL: Russian media reported on Wednesday that 15-year-old figure skater Kamila Valieva had tested positive for a banned drug, after the ceremony to present her and her team mates with their Olympic gold medals was postponed for unexplained legal reasons.

The news broke late at night in Beijing, where Valieva was part of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) ensemble that won the figure skating team event on Monday ahead of the United States and Japan.

The named the drug as Trimetazidine, which is typically used to treat chest pain. Trimetazidine, or TMZ, works by increasing blood flow to the heart and limiting rapid swings in blood pressure. The drug is not approved for use in the United States. It has been on the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) list of prohibited substances since 2014.

The teenager delivered one of the highlights of the Beijing Games so far when she landed the first quadruple jumps by a woman in Olympic competition. She was one of four ROC skaters who did not appear at their practice sessions on Wednesday.

There have been attempts to reach out to ROC chef de mission for comment but his phone was not answering. The ROC earlier declined to comment on reports that Valieva had returned a positive test.

Figure skating is a prestige sport for Russia, in which it has an outstanding record at Olympic and world championships. Any move to penalise Valieva or strip the team of their medals would likely cause a national outcry.

Sources have said that the sample in question had been taken two months ago.

"The drug trimetazidine does not help an athlete in any way. At all. It was found in one single sample in December. A minuscule amount. Nothing in her samples before or since," the source had written on social media.

The case is further complicated by the fact that Valieva is only 15. According to WADA's world anti-doping code, athletes who commit doping violations should be publicly named, but this is not required if the person concerned is a minor under the age of 18.

PHOTO: STILL PHOTOGRAPHS OF MEDALISTS FOR THE FIGURE SKATING, TEAM EVENT / STILL PHOTOGRAPHS OF MEMBERS OF THE ROC DURING ATHLETES PARADE / FILE OF RUSSIAN PRESIDENT, VLADIMIR PUTIN / FILE OF KAMILA VALIEVA / FILE OF CAPITAL INDOOR STADIUM / FILE OF RUSSIAN ANTI-DOPING AGENCY (RUSADA) HEADQUARTERS / FILE OF MODELS PARADING THE RUSSIAN OLYMPIC COMMITTEE TEAM KIT FOR 2022 WINTER OLYMPICS IN BEIJING


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