MOSCOW, December 29 (R-Sport) – Russian figure skating stars have signed an appeal to the sports minister to overturn a decision to deny Konstantin Menshov at spot at the European championships, R-Sport understands.
Menshov, 29, won the bronze medal at the nationals on Wednesday and should by rights have joined gold winner Evgeni Plushenko and Sergei Voronov, who took silver, on the roster for the January 21-27 event in Zagreb.
But the executive committee of the Russian figure skating federation decided to replace Menshov with 17-year-old budding star Maxim Kovtun to expose him to top-level competition ahead of the Sochi Olympics.
A source close to the situation told R-Sport on Saturday that letter's signatories included many competitors at this week's national championships as well as St. Petersburg figure skating federation president Oleg Nilov.
The campaign to give the spot to Menshov also went public, with reigning European pairs champion Maxim Trankov, silver medalist in ice dance Dmitry Soloviev and world silver medalist Alena Leonova voicing their support on social networks.
An appeal to reconsider the decision on replacement of figure skater Konstantin Menshov at the European Championships was sent to the Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, the source in the Russian national team told R-Sport.
According to the source, figure skaters who participated at the Russian nationals this week and St. Petersburg figure skating federation president Oleg Nilov signed the appeal.
On Friday, the executive committee of the Russian figure skating federation decided to replace Menshov with 17-year-old starlet Maxim Kovtun for the participation in the major continental competition.
Menshov, 29, took the bronze on the nationals on Wednesday and should have joined Evgeni Plushenko and Sergei Voronov in the national roster that is normally based on the sporting principle.
However, the coaching staff recommended the federation to make the change with the view of Junior Grand Prix winner Kovtun gaining experience at the senior level.
A lot of famous skaters including European reigning champion in pairs Maxim Trankov, silver medalist in ice dancing Dmitri Soloviev and world vice-champion Alena Leonova took part in the campaign launched in the social networks to support Menshov.
The European Championships will be held from 21 through 27 January in Croatia.