Kamila Valieva is so talented she does not need to take drugs, her choreographer has insisted, as the brilliant 15-year-old Russian skater waits to see whether she will be sent home from the Winter Olympics.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) met by video camera on Sunday evening in Beijing to discuss Valieva’s case after she tested positive for the banned angina drug trimetazidine, and says it will announce its verdict over whether her provision suspension should be reimposed on Monday.
However when Valieva's choreographer, Alexei Zheleznyakov, was asked on Instagram why she had returned a positive sample on Christmas Day, he strongly defended his skater's integrity.
“I’m not a god, I have no idea,” he replied. “There are a lot of options, but I’m sure of one thing: Kami doesn’t touch anything forbidden in life, with her talent it’s not necessary.”
Earlier on Sunday Valieva continued to train in the hope of being given the all-clear to skate in the individual event on Tuesday, where she is an overwhelming favourite to win her second gold of the Games. After her routine she was applauded by her coach Eteri Tutberidze, who herself is under the spotlight, and the Russian press.
Meanwhile the scrutiny of Valieva’s support staff has increased after the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) said it would ask its independent intelligence and investigations department to look into the coaches, doctors and other adults surrounding her.
Because Valieva is under 16, Wada's code requires that an investigation is automatically required into her support personnel. However, the Olympic Games executive director Christophe Dubi said it was important to remember the "human side of this story . . . to think about a person of 15 in this situation", and added: "We need to treat this situation extremely carefully."
Cas will decide on Monday whether to reintroduce a provisional suspension that was first imposed by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency last week, before a committee overturned it on appeal. A decision on whether an offence has been committed – and whether the Russian Olympic Committee will keep its team gold – will be made at a later date.