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    Putin sure Russia's Paralympics team will prove its class

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    Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is certain that the country's Paralympics team will demonstrate its "skill and spirit" at the Vancouver Games, the government press office said on Saturday.

    Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is certain that the country's Paralympics team will demonstrate its "skill and spirit" at the Vancouver Games, the government press office said on Saturday.

    The 10th Paralympics kicked off in Vancouver on Friday. Russia came first in the 2006 Turin Games in the overall medal count, with 13 golds, 13 silvers and 7 bronzes.

    "I am sure that in an honest and tough battle you will demonstrate to the full your sporting skill, strength of spirit and fighting character," Putin said in a telegram to the president of the Paralympics committee.

    "Your victories and achievement will write yet another bright chapter in the history of the Paralympics," he added.

    Russia's Olympics team were a disappointment at the Games, taking 11th place in the overall medals table, winning three golds, five silvers and seven bronzes.

    Its hotly-tipped ice-hockey team was also knocked out of the tournament at the quarter-final stage by eventual winners Canada, going down 7-3.

    MOSCOW, March 13 (RIA Novosti) 

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