21 January 2014, 17:22

Pluschenko to represent Russia in men’s single skating in Sochi, satisfied with tests

Pluschenko to represent Russia in men’s single skating in Sochi, satisfied with tests

Figure skater Evgeny Pluschenko has been chosen to represent Russia in men’s single ice skating at the Sochi Olympics, a Russian Sports Ministry official has announced.

On Saturday, Russian champion Maksim Kovtun, who was regarded as Pluschenko’s main contender for the only place on the national Olympic team, took over fifth place at the European Championships and was left behind by Sergei Voronov with his silver and Konstantin Menshov with bronze.

On Tuesday, Pluschenko had a check skating session which he remained satisfied with.

The expert board of the Russian Figure Skating Federation is scheduled to hold a meeting on Wednesday at which a final decision on the single place for figure skaters at the Sochi Olympics will be made.

"The Sports Ministry has prepared a document with names of athletes to represent the Russian national team at the Olympic Games. The list was approved by the Executive Council of the Russian Olympic Committee. There is only the name of Pluschenko on it. He is supposed to perform both in team events and single skating," the official said.

The Turin 2006 Olympic gold medalist did not compete at last week's European championships and the test skate behind closed doors was his last opportunity to stake a claim for a place in Sochi next month.

Plushenko has struggled with back injuries for the past two seasons and last competed in an elite international event more than a year ago, when he withdrew hurt from the 2013 European championships. He did, however, compete at the minor Volvo Open event in Riga, Latvia, in November.

His major rival for the sole Russian entry at the men’s event in Sochi is 18-year-old Maxim Kovtun. He beat Plushenko at the Russian nationals last month but only managed fifth at last week's European Championships in Budapest behind fellow Russians Sergei Voronov and Konstantin Menshov, who revived their own dark-horse bids for a Sochi Olympic place.

The Olympics formally run from February 7 through 23, although the first competitive date for a Russian men's skater would be the February 6-9 team event, before the men's individual competition February 13-14.

Voice of Russia, R-Sport, RIA

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