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Olympic champion Sotnikova to skip worlds

Moscow: Olympic women`s champion Adelina Sotnikova will not compete in the world championships in Japan starting next week, the Russian figure skating federation announced on Tuesday.

Sotnikova controversially won gold in Sochi last month ahead of defending champion Kim Yu-Na of South Korea to become Russia`s first ever women`s Olympic figure skating champion.

Federation president Alexander Gorshkov said that Sotnikova, who has never competed at worlds, would not compete to allow the two-time European silver medallist rest and prepare for next season.

The 17-year-old has been listed as a substitute for the March 24-30 championships in Saitama.

"Her (Sotnikova) preparations for this season were initially completely focused on her peaking for the Olympic Games," Gorshkov said.

"Sotnikova managed to win there, which demanded a huge performance. The federation have decided to give her an opportunity to recover completely before the start of her preparations for the new season."

European champion Julia Lipnitskaya, 15, who helped Russia win gold in the team gold in Sochi, will compete in the women`s event along with Anna Pogorilaya.

Kim, 23, announced her retirement after Sochi but Italy`s Olympic bronze medallist Carolina Kostner, the 2012 world champion, will compete along with Japan`s Mao Asada, the Vancouver silver medallist.

Gorshkov added that world championships which are held in an Olympic year are often without the Olympic champions.

"Many top skaters who win titles and medals at the Olympics withdraw because of reasons which are easily understandable," he said.

"The Olympics are the peak event not only of the current season but also of the whole preceding four-year cycle.

"The athletes, who were focussed totally on their performance at the Olympics, are unable to repeat the surge of forces and emotions just a month later.

"That explains the difference in our team`s line-up for the upcoming event."

Winter Games` hosts Russia won three of a possible five titles in Sochi.

Olympic pairs champions Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov are also absent from the Russian squad, as they opted not to compete at worlds.

Russia`s pairs entries will be Sochi silver medallists Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov, and Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov.

Maxim Kovtun, 18, will represent Russia in the men`s event. Kovtun was overlooked for the Olympics in favour of Yevgeny Plushenko after finishing fifth at Europeans.

Plushenko pulled out of the individual competition at the Sochi Olympics after injuring his fragile back in practice. He had already won gold in the team event.

Russia are favourites to take the ice dancing gold in Japan in the absence of Olympic champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White of the United States and silver medallists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada.

Olympic bronze medallists Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov will compete along with Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev.

Men: Maxim Kovtun

Women: Julia Lipnitskaya, Anna Pogorilaya

Pairs: Julia Antipova and Nodari Maisuradze, Vera Bazarova and Yury Larionov, Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov

Ice dance: Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev, Yelena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov, Victoria Sinitsyna and Ruslan Zhiganshin

From Zee News

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