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    MOSCOW HOSTING CALISTHENICS EVENT

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    MOSCOW, February 29, 2004 (RIA Novosti) - The Moscow round of free calisthenics grand prix event, which will take place on Sunday, will mark the beginning of the Olympic season.

    The Moscow event will involve athletes from all countries, except Greece, Irina Wiener, the chief coach of the Russian national team, said at a news conference on Friday.

    The calisthenics grand prix event first took place in Moscow in 1998. Russian athlete Alina Kabayeva, who just embarked on her sporting career at that time, won the 1998 event. Kabayeva had won all domestic grand prix until 2001, while another famed athlete, Irina Chashchina, had won silver or bronze medals.

    Both gymnasts were disqualified for the 2002 and 2003 events, which many believed was an undeserved disqualification. This year, the girls reappeared in big sports as leaders.

    Lyaisan Utyasheva, who has undergone a serious operation, will also take part in the event. The very appearance of this athlete at the tournament is kind of a victory, said Ms Wiener.

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