KUBICA INTERRUPTED: This is teenager Igor Walilko. He dreams of being a champion racing driver, if the FIA can overturn his drug conviction.
GENEVA – Igor
Walilko of Poland is scheduled to give evidence at the Lausanne-based
court on Thursday when his lawyers challenge the ban imposed on him by motor
sport's governing body, the FIA.
Walilko was 12
when he tested positive for the banned stimulant Nikethamide after an
international kart race in Germany in July, 2010. It was the driver's first
Walilko's lawyer Michael Lehner
told Associated Press the case is "very difficult" for the
teenager, who was a national junior champion.
was very famous in Poland and, one day after, he was a criminal child,"
Lehner said in a telephone interview. "He has good chances to go to a
career in motor sport, and now with a two-year ban it's finished."
The FIA did not respond to requests for comment on the case.
According to Walilko's website, he began riding motocross bikes at the age of 4 and followed his father, Rafal, into the sport.
2007, Walilko started competitive racing in karts — the same route
taken by Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton on their road to become
Formula 1 world champions.
"He has a lot of
talent," Lehner said. "The father pushed him, this is normal in sport,
but the father doesn't push him in doping."
All the credentials, then a scandal
won the Polish junior title in 2009. He competed in Germany in 2010, piloting 125cc engines in KF3 class races. At the Ampfing
circuit on July 18, he finished second in a 24-lap race, reaching
speeds of 90km/h.
German organisers took a
urine sample after the race, and it showed traces of Nikethamide. The
World Anti-Doping Agency classifies Nikethamide as a specified
substance that allows for explanations of accidental use — if an
athlete proves how it was consumed.
12-year-old boy is not able to remember what he eats the whole day,"
Lehner said. "Maybe he gets it from some friends, we don't know."
World Anti-Doping Code states that cases "involving a minor shall be
considered a particularly serious violation," but also points out that
"certainly youth and lack of experience are relevant factors to be
The FIA anti-doping panel looked at Walilko's case in Paris in October, 2010, before imposing the two-year ban.
he knows doping is forbidden ... (but) for a 12-year-old child it's not
easy to understand complicated rules," said Lehner, a specialist in
sports doping cases.
However, WADA said it studied the case and accepted the FIA's verdict.
reviewed the sanction ... and has decided not to exercise its
independent right of appeal to the CAS, as it is in compliance with the
World Anti-Doping Code," it said in a statement to the AP.
The CAS panel is expected to give its ruling within the next few weeks.
Lehner said he would argue that Walilko was below the age of criminal
liability in Poland, with the Youth Olympic Games closed to athletes
younger than 14.
"For more than 14-years old, OK, you can use the rules but not
the maximum (two years)," he said. "For a child, you should not have
the possibility to punish him."