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    MOSCOW, July 15 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian capital's largest Luzhniki sports center will host international President's Cup dressage tournament.

    Along with Russian jockeys, the tournament will involve sportsmen from Byelorussia, Ukraine, Moldavia, Kazakhstan, Germany, Finland, said the tournament's director Alexander Dmitrienko at a press conference on Thursday.

    "In 2005, the Luzhniki will host the European dressage cup. We regard the President's Cup as a trial of strength before the European championship".

    According to vice-president of Russia's Equestrian Sport Federation, Olympic champion in dressage Elena Peytushkova, for the first time (the tournament is held for the second time) the framework of the President's Cup will include Russia's championship.

    "So, the jockey, who has never participated in international tournaments, will have the opportunity to assess their level", said Mrs. Petushkova.

    According to her, Russian sportsmen will make up one third of the participants' total number. Among them are Russia's leading sportsmen, who have already shown themselves at the international arena, including Alexandra Karelova, Elena Kalinina, Nina Minkova.

    According to Mr. Dmitrienko, "the tournament's organizers do not expect participation of some international stars, since the President's Cup will take place shortly before the Olympic Games in Athens".

    However, the President's Cup enjoys the status of the World Cup's round. Mrs. Petushkova said that participation in the tournament would give the opportunity to be qualified for the European Cup'2004.

    According to Moscow's first deputy mayor Mikhail Men, the Russian capital endeavours to hold as many international tournaments like the President's Cup as possible.

    In Mr. Men's opinion, holding the international tournament in Moscow will help the city to strengthen its positions against the background of the fight for hosting Olymics-2012.

    The competition's prize pool will amount to $500,000.

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