The world’s highest anti-doping authority has said it will investigate the entourage of 15-year-old Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva.
Valieva tested positive for a banned drug at the Beijing Winter Olympics, leading Olympic officials to call for an anti-doping investigation into the Russian doctors, coaches and family in her entourage.
Her Olympic future will be decided after a Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) hearing on Sunday.
A panel of three CAS judges will hear arguments from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and International Skating Union to reinstate a ban lifted by the Russian Anti-Doping Authority on 9 February.
It puts Valieva’s entry in the women’s single event on Tuesday in question, with CAS saying it will notify all parties on Monday.
Anti-doping agency will probe coaches, doctors and adults around athlete
The figure skater completed a clean run-through of her short programme in practice on Sunday, watched from the sidelines by her three coaches, Eteri Tutberidze, Sergei Dudakov and Daniil Gleikhengauz, as well as team doctor Filipp Shvetsky and a physiotherapist.
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 around the athlete, in a statement sent to the Reuters news agency.
WADA also said the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) had indicated it has already started investigating the entourage as Valieva is a minor.
Valieva tested positive for a banned heart drug at her national championships last December, but it took more than six weeks for her to be notified, which allowed her to compete in Beijing.
The scandal also puts a gold for the Russian Olympic Committee in the team event on Monday potentially in jeopardy.
On Saturday, Ms Tutberidze, the most sought-after figure skating coach in Russia, said she was certain Valieva was “clean and innocent” in an interview with Russian state TV.
How is Russia able to compete at all?
Russia is competing in the Beijing Olympics under the name of the Russian Olympic Committee, without using its anthem or flag, because of the fallout from years of doping scandals.
The disputes centre round steroid use and cover-ups at the 2014 Winter Olympics, which Russia hosted.
A further scandal could extend their two-year ban beyond its scheduled end in December.