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Russia loses 2023 ice hockey championships

Russia loses 2023 ice hockey championships

The repercussions of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine rumble on with the increasingly isolated state having 2023 hosting rights stripped from them.

Next year’s ice hockey world championship will be moved from St Petersburg in Russia, governing body IIHF said on Tuesday.

The tournament, scheduled for May 2023, will be at a new venue to be named during the 2022 event, which takes place in Finland next month

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“The decision to relocate the event was taken primarily out of concern for the safety and well-being of all participating players, officials, media, and fans,” the IIHF said.

“The council expressed significant concerns over the safe freedom of movement of players and officials to, from, and within Russia.”

Earlier this year, the IIHF suspended Russian and Belarusian teams from its competitions until further notice.

Belarus is a key staging area for the invasion.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin has hit back at sanctions levelled on the nation’s athletes.

He said teenage figure skater Kamila Valieva’s performances could not have been achieved with the help of any banned substances.

Valieva, who turned 16 on Tuesday, failed a doping test at the Russian national championships last December but the result was only revealed on February 8, a day after she had already helped the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) win the team event at the Beijing Games.

“Through her work, she brought the sport to the level of a real form of art,” Putin said of Valieva at a televised awards ceremony at the Kremlin for medallists from the 2022 Winter Olympics.

“Such perfection cannot be achieved dishonestly with the help of additional substances, manipulations. We very well know that these additional substances are not needed in figure skating.”

Putin also said Russian and Belarusian Paralympians, removed from the Beijing Paralympic Games after Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, was a case of discrimination based on nationality that ‘directly violated the fundamental principles of sport’ and ‘their most basic human rights were… openly, cynically violated’.

Putin also criticised the International Swimming Federation (FINA) for handing Russian Olympic gold medallist Evgeny Rylov a nine-month suspension for attending a rally backing Moscow’s military intervention in Ukraine, calling the move “completely absurd.”

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