‘Clean and innocent’: Valieva coach breaks silence on doping scandal | sport

The Russian coach of the brilliant 15-year-old skater in the eye of a doping storm in Beijing has broken his silence to say Kamila Valieva is “clean and innocent”.

Eteri Tutberidze admitted that the situation surrounding his skater was “very controversial and difficult”, with the Court of Arbitration for Sport set to decide within 24 hours whether Valieva can compete in the individual event on Tuesday after testing positive for a banned heart drug.

However, Tutberidze told Russian state television that regardless of Cas’s decision, she believed Valieva had done nothing wrong. “I mean I’m absolutely sure that Camila is innocent and clean. For us it’s not a theorem, but an axiom, it doesn’t need to be proven. We are with our athletes, in the trouble and in joy, until the end.

Valieva, who captured the hearts of the world when she became the first skater to perform a quad at the Games as the Russian Olympic Committee won a brilliant team gold medal, was allowed to train while she is appealing her provisional suspension. She looked calm and focused on the workout, producing a flawless rendition of her short program to the music of Krill Richter’s “In Memoriam.” Coming off the ice, Sia’s “I’m Unstoppable” exploded into the arena.

A spokeswoman for the Russian Figure Skating Federation told state news agency RIA that Cas was expected at 4pm UK time on Saturday. Meanwhile, in the past 24 hours attention in Russia has started to focus on Tutberidze, who is known for her uncompromising methods.

After Valieva tested positive for trimetazidine, a drug commonly used to treat angina, the hashtag #позорТутберидзе – “shame on you, Tutberidze” – became trending on Twitter. However, Valieva made a point of hugging her coach during training on Saturday before crossing the mixed zone, accompanied by two burly goalkeepers. There was even a smile when she received cheers from the Russian media.

Speaking to Russian station Channel One, Tutberidze asked why it took so long for Valieva’s positive test to emerge, given that it was carried out on Christmas Day but was only reported by a Swedish laboratory. than February 8. It has since emerged that the delay was caused by a Covid outbreak at the lab in January. However, Tutberidze seemed unconvinced.

“It is unclear why an athlete with a questionable doping test on December 25 was admitted to the Olympics, she said. “Either it’s a fatal coincidence or it’s a very competent plan. I really hope that our leaders will not abandon us, defend our rights and prove our innocence.

Tutberidze, who once coached former Olympic gold medalists Yulia Lipnitskaya and Alina Zagitova, added: “I don’t know who and what decides, but I hope justice will prevail somehow.” , she added.

Earlier, the International Olympic Committee said it would welcome a doping investigation into Valieva’s “entourage” after the 15-year-old Russian tested positive for doping. “Entourage has been overlooked in the past,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams told a press conference on Saturday. “The IOC, as always, would welcome an entourage investigation in all cases where it is relevant. In this case, as in all cases, we would welcome a firm line from the World Anti-Doping Agency on this matter.

This view was backed by two-time Olympic figure skating champion Katarina Witt, who insisted that Valieva was not responsible for her positive doping test. Writing on her Facebook page, Witt hailed Valieva as a “wonderful young girl and child, who enchants the whole world with her sportsmanship and grace, but she is not to blame here.”

“This scandal is a dramatic cut in her young and promising career and I sincerely hope that enough people will stand by her and protect her so she doesn’t break,” she added. “Kamila learned her quadruple jumps with infinite diligence and courage. No amount of doping would have helped her land them! And especially not with their artistic flare! If anything, responsible adults should be locked up for the sport forever !

Meanwhile, longtime IOC member Dick Pound wondered if it was time for Russia to take an Olympic ‘timeout’. “At some point, if they’re absolutely incorrigible, you end up in the position to take a timeout for the country,” Pound said. “We could say we can help you. You have a problem. We can focus on it. Set aside time for one, two or three Olympics until you get the hang of it.

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