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Archive for the ‘Sport’ Category

Russia’s Isinbayeva nominated for European Athlete of the Year

Posted by Kris Roman on September 16, 2008

European Friends of Russia


Russia’s 2004 and 2008 Olympic pole vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva has been nominated for the 2008 Waterford Crystal European Athlete of the Year Trophy.

The 26-year-old Russian, who has broken the world pole vault record 24 times, most recently at the Olympic Games in Beijing, won the trophy in 2005 after becoming the first woman to clear 5 meters while setting a total of nine world records that year alone.

The trophy was introduced in 1993 by the European Athletics Association and is awarded based on the results of public voting.

This year, a total of 39 athletes have been nominated for the award, 19 in the men’s category and 20 for the women’s prize.

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Medvedev appoints special representative on cultural cooperation

Posted by Kris Roman on August 3, 2008

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has appointed Mikhail Shvydkoi as his special representative on international cultural cooperation, the Kremlin said on Friday.

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Up to 20,000 Russian fans likely to attend Euro 2008

Posted by Kris Roman on June 6, 2008

Up to 20,000 Russian fans are expected to cheer their side on at Euro 2008, to be jointly held in Austria and Switzerland this month, the head of the Russian Football Union said on Friday.

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Russia wins 2008 Ice Hockey World Championship in Canada

Posted by Kris Roman on May 19, 2008

Russia’s national ice hockey team beat Canada 5-4 in overtime in the final of the 2008 IIHF World Championship in Canada to become world champions for the first time in 15 years.

Trailing the Canadians 2-4 in the third period on Sunday, two quick goals from Alexei Tereshchenko and Ilya Kovalchuk brought the Russians level.

And with almost three minutes into overtime and with Canadian Rick Nash in the penalty box for delaying the game, Kovalchuk clinched the game with a well-placed wrist shot over the shoulder of Canadian goalkeeper Cam Ward.

The Russian team had not lost a game on the way to the final and now equal Canada with 24 world titles. Canada hosted the championship for the first time in the 100-year history of the champions and was eager to win the trophy on home soil.

Last year at the championship held in Moscow, Russia was also desperate to win the title at home, but was beaten in the semifinal losing to Finland in overtime. The title eventually went to Canada, who beat the Finns in the final.

Speaking after the match in Quebec City, Alexei Morozov, the Russian captain, said the team had learnt the lessons from last year, but said it was difficult to play against the hosts in Canada.

“This championship was different from the one in Moscow [last year],” Morozov, who scored five goals during the championship, said. “But we have learnt the lesson and changed a lot.”

The Russian captain also said that an incident involving the Russian team bus, which was stopped by the Canadian police before the final, only stirred up the players.

“We were angry and it was unpleasant,” Morozov said. “But in the cloakroom we agreed to forget about the incident and to focus on the game to get results.”

While the Canadian team bus was permitted to stop by the main entrance of the Colisee Pepsi stadium, where the final was being held, to drop the players off, the Russian bus was stopped about a kilometer from the entrance and the team was told to walk the remaining distance.

Morozov also said he believed in Kovalchuk, who prior to the final had not scored a single goal, saying that “two or three days ago I told him [Kovalchuk] that he would decide everything in the ‘golden’ match.”

Russia’s head coach Vyacheslav Bykov, who captained the Russian team in 1993, the last time they won the World Championship, also praised Kovalchuk’s match winning goals.

“I am simply happy for Ilya [Kovalchuk],” said Bykov adding he hoped that the players would continue to get results at international level, including at the Winter Olympic Games in 2010, which will also be held in Canada.

And honors were also heaped on Russia’s goaltender Yevgeny Nabokov who was voted the best goalie of the Canadian World Championships.

The Russian team, which entered the championship in fifth place of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) ranking, is now ranked 2nd after Canada with just 10 points less (3400 against 3410).

On Saturday, four Russian players were named for the ice hockey Team of the Century announced by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF).

Goalie Vladislav Tretyak, defenseman Vyacheslav Fetisov and forwards Valery Kharlamov and Sergei Makarov, who played for the Soviet national team in the 1970s and the 1980s, were voted on to the team in a poll conducted by a group of 56 experts from 16 countries.

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Zenit hammer Bayern to reach UEFA Cup final

Posted by Kris Roman on May 3, 2008


            RIA Novosti

Russian champions Zenit turned on the style in St. Petersburg on Thursday evening to crush the German giants Bayern Munich 4-0 and progress to the final of the UEFA Cup.

After drawing 1-1 in Munich a week ago, Zenit went into second leg the favorites, but nothing could have prepared the side’s fans for either the performance or the result at Petrovsky stadium on Russia’s Spring and Labor public holiday.

Despite having lost a number of key players to either injury or suspension, including their captain and star, Andrey Arshavin, Zenit left the four times champions of Europe and current Bundesliga leaders with little chance, opening the scoring as early as the 4th minute, Pavel Pogrebnyak cracking a free kick past veteran German keeper Oliver Kahn.

A star-studded Bayern side boasting Luca Toni, Miroslav Klose and Franck Ribery fought back, but Zenit’s defense held out, and in the 39th minute a moment of Brazilian-like genius by Konstantin Zyrianov set the Russian international free in Bayern’s box and he slotted the ball home for goal number two.

The second half again saw Bayern unable to make progress in the Zenit box, and the Russian under 21 star Viktor Fayzulin headed home goal number three in the 54th minute. The already scarcely believable score entered the realms of fantasy football with just 17 minutes left to play, Pogrebnyak casually booting home Zenit’s fourth following some fine build up play by his teammates. The goal was his tenth of the tournament, and brought him level with Toni as the 2007/08 UEFA Cup top scorer.

Zenit kept the pressure on, and threatened to get a fifth against a clearly shell-shocked Bayern. In fact, they may have tried just a little too hard, Pogrebnyak earning a needless yellow card that will rule him out of the final in Manchester against Zenit manager Dick Advocaat’s former club, Glasgow Rangers, on May 14.

Russian football, backed by oligarchs and energy giants, has been enjoying something of a boom of late, and Zenit’s mauling of Bayern on Thursday night is sure to raise its profile even more.

Aside from Bayern, Zenit have beaten Bayer Leverkusen, Marseille, and Villarreal in the knock- out stages. “We’ve come so far, gone through against such strong teams, and this shows we can win in the final,” said Advocaat after the victory over Bayern, adding that, “We were unbelievable today. I’ve never seen anything like it before.”

The side’s fans, not to mention Russian energy giant Gazprom, which finances the club, will be hoping that he is right and that Zenit can become the second Russian team, after CSKA Moscow in 2005, to lift the UEFA Cup in the last four years.

Even before the identity of Zenit’s opponents was settled, Bayern’s manager, Ottmar Hitzfield, was sure that Zenit would be the favorites going into the final.

“Any side that beats Bayern 4-0 is always going to be the favorite,” he commented after the game.

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Russian football champions in “racism scandal”

Posted by Kris Roman on March 21, 2008

Russian football champions in racism scandal

Russian football champions Zenit have found themselves at the centre of a racism scandal. UEFA say they will investigate the behaviour of the Saint Petersburg team’s fans during their UEFA Cup clash with Marseille last week.

However, it was announced later that the European game’s governing organistaion have stalled an immediate inquiry.Marseille accused fans from Saint Petersburg, known as the cultural capital of Russia, of abusing their black players, by making monkey chants and throwing bananas.Zenit came from behind to win through on aggregate. They now meet Bayer Leverkusen in the quarter-finals next month.

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