Controversial figure skater Kamila Valieva is set to return to competition this weekend in Russia – with a doping case still hanging over her.
The 15-year-old crashed out of medal contention in the women’s singles at February’s 2022 Winter Olympics.
She was allowed to compete despite a failed drugs test coming to light after she had helped the Russian Olympic Committee win the team event.
Valieva is set to compete in the Channel One Cup in Saransk.
It is a Russian-only event organised to clash with the World Championships.
Figure skaters from Russia and Belarus are banned from the World Championships in Montpellier, France, which run from Wednesday to Sunday, because of sanctions imposed following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Valieva was one of the biggest stories to taint the Beijing Games. The teenager was initially lauded for becoming the first woman to land a quadruple jump at a Winter Olympics, which she achieved in the team event.
But a failed drugs test in December 2021 – where Valieva tested positive for banned heart medication trimetazidine – came to light just before the team event medal ceremony was due to take place.
She was allowed to compete in the singles after a court ruling lifted her provisional ban following a series of appeals and re-appeals.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) pointed to “exceptional circumstances” regarding her age and the timing of the test result, which came during the Games and nearly six weeks after the sample was taken.
It said it would do Valieva “irreparable harm” if she were not allowed to compete.
But Valieva left the arena in tears after a number of stumbles and falls saw her drop from first place after the short programme to fourth following the free skate – and out of the medals.
The doping case is still to be resolved. The Russian anti-doping agency (Rusada) has six months from the date of the notification of Valieva’s offence to reach a decision over any sanction. This could mean the ruling being delayed until August.
The medals have yet to be awarded for the team event, with the USA and Japan finishing second and third, while Canada came fourth.