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Top ice skater to miss Olympics after being denied citizenship

Nov 14, 2013
From wire reports, TALLINN

An Estonian-Russian ice skating duo will not participate in next years winter Olympics after one of them was denied Estonian citizenship, reports ERR.

Natalja Zabijako and Aleksandr Zabojev will not travel to Sochi, Russia in 2014 after Zabojev was told he was denied citizenship.

Zabojev said he would apply for citizenship and learn the Estonian language so he could be eligible to apply fin the future. 

The duo have participated in other European and World championships where they have represented Estonia. 

Next year, the Estonian Olympic Committee will take over from the Ministry of Culture as the institution responsible for paying the large bonuses to medal winners.

The main differences is that the ministry will allocate a certain figure, and if more medals are won, the EOC, with a much smaller budget than the ministry, could be bankrupt.

Head of the EOC, Neinar Seli, told Postimees today that the pot currently contains only enough for a bronze medal at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016, and nothing for next year's Sochi games.

The current going rate for a gold medal is around 100,000 euros for the winner, while the coach receives around 50,000 euros. A bronze medal would earn a athlete around 45,000 euros.

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