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TALLINN, Estonia November 15 (R-Sport) – The Estonian government has denied citizenship to figure skater Alexander Zaboev, who had hoped to switch allegiances from Russia to participate at the Sochi Olympic Games, the tiny Baltic country announced Thursday.
Yekaterinburg-born Zaboev, 24, has been skating with Estonia’s Natalja Zabijako since October 2012, and the pair managed to win an Olympic spot for Estonia after taking ninth place at the Nebelhorn Trophy in September.
The Estonian figure skating federation petitioned the government to fast-track Zaboev's application “for special merits,” but its efforts appear to have been in vain, according to a statement from the country’s cabinet of ministers, which gave no explanation for the decision.
Estonia will now be represented only in singles disciplines: by Jelena Glebova in the women’s field and Viktor Romanenkov in the men’s. With no replacements to call upon in the pairs category, Estonia relinquishes its spot to Israeli pair Andrea Davidovich and Evgeni Krasnopolski, who finished 10th at the Nebelhorn Trophy.
In Vancouver, Estonian pair of Maria Sergejeva and Ilja Glebov finished 19th, but both skaters retired soon after the Olympics. Mixed-nation pairs are allowed to skate on the Grand Prix circuit, but Olympic rules require both to be from one nation.
In May, two other figure skaters left Russia as Polina Shelepen switched to Israel and Ivan Bariev to Italy.
The Olympic figure skating competition is scheduled for February 6-20.
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