Judge in Russian Olympic Doping Worked on Sharapova Case

By GRAHAM DUNBAR, AP Sports activities Author

BEIJING (AP) — One of many legal professionals that may decide Russian determine skater Kamila Valieva’s doping case on the Beijing Olympics on Sunday is an American who was as soon as picked by Maria Sharapova’s authorized group for her enchantment over an identical performance-enhancing drug.

Jeffrey Benz was named Saturday by the Court docket of Arbitration for Sport to take a seat on the three-judge panel for the pressing case of Valieva, a 15-year-old Russian who examined constructive for a banned coronary heart medicine at an occasion in December.

The decision from Benz and his fellow judges, who’re from Italy and Slovenia, is predicted Monday and can determine if the game’s new star can compete a day later in the beginning of the ladies’s particular person occasion. She could be favored to win gold on Thursday.

The panel for the closed-door, video-link listening to was picked by the court docket, often known as CAS, from a choose group of 9 judges made accessible for particular responsibility on the Beijing Olympics.

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Neither aspect within the Valieva case was allowed to choose a most popular decide — as they’d in a typical case exterior the Olympics — however the Russians may be pleased with the American.

Benz was an elite determine skater, competing in ice dance on the nationwide stage in the USA, and has been picked for a number of circumstances involving Russian sports activities as one of the vital in-demand judges at CAS.

In Sharapova’s enchantment on the Switzerland-based court docket in 2016, Benz was chosen on behalf of the Russian tennis star to serve on the three-judge panel. She had been banned for 2 years after testing constructive for the banned coronary heart medicine meldonium on the Australian Open. CAS dominated she was not completely at fault and her ban was reduce to fifteen months.

Valieva examined constructive for an additional banned coronary heart medicine, trimetazidine.

One other skating case at CAS in 2017 noticed Benz picked by the Russian nationwide federation and RUSADA, the anti-doping company which is a celebration within the Valieva listening to on Sunday.

That point, Benz and his fellow judges prolonged the ban for Russian brief monitor speedskater Alexandra Malkova. She served a 20-month ban as a substitute of three months.

The Valieva case can also be not the primary involving Russian athletes and Benz as a decide for Olympic eligibility.

A gaggle of 67 monitor and subject athletes took a fast-track case to CAS in July 2016 amid fallout from the Russian doping scandal and frenetic authorized exercise forward of the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. The judges upheld the principles of monitor’s governing physique, which excluded the Russians.

On Sunday, the CAS judges will look at an enchantment — filed by the IOC, World Anti-Doping Company and Worldwide Skating Union — to have Valieva excluded from the ladies’s competitors. They argue RUSADA’s ruling on Wednesday to raise an interim ban on Valieva was flawed.

The bizarre case has brought on havoc on the Olympics. The skater’s constructive check got here from a pattern taken six weeks earlier and was flagged by a laboratory in Sweden solely on Monday — after she skated and helped the Russian group win gold within the group occasion. The US took silver.

Benz as soon as labored as a lawyer for the USA Olympic Committee, however the case he’ll hear Sunday has no impression on the group occasion, the place the People would stand to be elevated to gold if the Russians are disqualified. RUSADA will individually examine the unique doping case towards Valieva as a result of it occurred on the Russian nationwide championships.

In an effort to dispel any notion that Benz could also be conflicted as a decide within the case, CAS famous Saturday that “any occasion which has goal causes to problem the composition of the panel could file a petition towards any member of this panel.”

No problem had been filed late Saturday towards Benz or his fellow judges, panel chair Fabio Iudica and Vesna Bergant Rakočeviċ.

Extra AP Winter Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/winter-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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