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S. Korean skating champion seeks Russian citizenship for Sochi Olympics

(Xinhua)

10:10, August 17, 2011

MOSCOW, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- Ahn Hyun Soo, the accomplished skater from South Korea, has applied for the Russian citizenship in order to be eligible for performing for the Russia's Olympic team in 2014 Sochi Winter Games, Russian Skating Union (SKR) said on Tuesday.

Ahn, who won three Olympic gold medals and has been five-time world champion on the short track speed skating, would sign a formal contract with the SKR as soon as he obtains a Russian passport, SKR's president Alexei Kravtsov told the RBC news agency.

SKR and Russia's Sports and Tourism Ministry applied to the Presidential Citizenship Commission for the skater's fast-track naturalization.

According to Kravtsov, Ahn, who arrived in Russia in June, would drop his South Korean citizenship and stay in Russia even after the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games. And for this dream, the 25-year-old skater has started learning Russian language and planned his coaching career here.

Ahn Hyun Soo, born in 1985 in Seoul, won three gold medals in 2006 Winter Games in Turin, Italy. In 2003-2007, he became a five- time Overall world champion. Due to knee injury in 2008, he had to skip the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.

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