Estonian-Russian Figure Skating Pair to Compete For Russia After Estonian Snub
Figure skater Natalia Zabijako, who has Estonian citizenship, said she will skate with a new partner and will compete for Russia.
Her previous partner, also a Russian citizen, Aleksandr Zabojev, was denied Estonian citizenship in November last year, which meant the pair could not compete at the Olympic games in Sochi, Russia. The pair did competed at European and World Championships together.
At the time, the Estonian Skating Union said Zabojev was planning to take the long road to citizenship, including learning the language.
The 19-year-old Zabijako will now skate with 28-year-old Juri Larionov, who has won medals at European Championships, although according to international regulations the pair will have to wait 18 months to compete.
Zabijako said the reasons are both financial - her Russian partner made four times more than her - and personal.
The pair came in 10th at the 2014 European Championships and had qualified for the Sochi games.