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SOCHI, February 22, 1:51 /ITAR-TASS/) - Russian athletes stand a good chance to win medals in biathlon, ski marathon, speed-skating and snowboard on Saturday. A medal-holding snowboard couple, Alyona Zavarzina and Vic Wild, will compete for the top places.
Russia’s men’s biathlon relay team and Russia’s ladies’ speed-skating teams have entered the teams’ semis.
The morning programme includes snowboard competitions and men’s and ladies’ parallel slalom. Riders Vic Wild and Alyona Zavarzina from Moscow who shone in the giant parallel slalom a few days ago may confirm their class in another discipline. Wild has not achieved any great results in parallel slalom world champs so far. Twice, he was 18th. Other Russian snowboarders competing in parallel slalom include Stanislav Detkov (Tashtagol); Andrei Sobolev from Barnaul and Valery Kolegov, also from Tashtagol, the Kemerovo region.
Zavarzina’s performance in parallel slalom has also been much weaker than in giant slalom in which she took gold in Sochi. Yekaterina Tudegeshova from the town of Dmitrov, the Moscow region, is the biggest hope for Russian fans. She was the 2013 parallel slalom world champion. Yekaterina Ilyukhina from Novosibirsk and Natalya Soboleva from Tashtagol will also compete for medals.
The final rides in the aforesaid disciplines will start at 13:15; ladies’ final is set for 14:46; men’s for 14:50.
A 30-kilometer ladies’ ski marathon freestyle race will start at 13:30. The Russian racers include Yulia Chekalyova from Vologda (number 8); Yulia Ivanova from the Komi Republic (number 17); Irina Khazova from Sarov, the Nizhniy Novgorod region (number 22) and Natalya Zhukova from Kazan (number 29).
The last Olympic speed-skating competitions - men’s and ladies’ team races - will begin at 17:30. Regrettably, only the ladies will be able to compete for medals in the semis where Polish speed skaters will be their main rivals. The Russian team is represented by Olga Graf and Yekaterina Lobysheva from Kolomna; Yulia Skokova from Yekaterinburg and Yekaterina Shikhova from St. Petersburg.
A men’s biathlon 4 x 7.5 km relay race will start at 18:30 on Saturday. Russia has a good chance of winning gold if the Russian four, including Alexei Volkov from the Tyumen region; Yevgeny Ustyugov from Krasnoyarsk; Dmitry Malyshko from the Leningrad region and Anton Shipulin from Yekaterinburg, performs up to the mark and shows what it can do. Their chief rivals will be from Norway, Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic and France.
Exhibition performances by figure-skaters, starting at 22:30 Moscow time, will be the highlight of the Saturday Olympic programme.