World gymnastics medallist Stepko granted Russian citizenship

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Moscow, March 27 (IANS) World and European medal winning gymnast Oleg Stepko, who previously competed under the national flags of Ukraine and Azerbaijan, has been granted the citizenship of Russia, his coach Vladimir Kochnev said on Tuesday.

Stepko, 24, was born in the southeast of Ukraine and participated in two Olympic Games, namely in the 2012 Summer Games in London under the Ukrainian flag and in the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro under the national flag of Azerbaijan, reports Tass news agency.

“The lengthy process of obtaining the Russian citizenship has been concluded and late last week he took the oath of the citizen of Russia,” Kochnev told Tass news agency. “Today he expects to receive the passport of the Russian citizen.”

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“His plans at the moment are to take part in the Russian gymnastics championship,” Kochnev added.

The Russian Gymnastics Championship will be held in the city of Kazan between April 16 and 22.

Competing for the national team of Ukraine, Stepko won the gold at the 2013 European Championship in Moscow in parallel bars.

Two years later he won the bronze in parallel bars at the 2015 World Championships in Glasgow competing under the national flag of Azerbaijan.

In 2017, Stepko announced his decision of moving to Russia and is currently staying and training in the country’s Siberian city of Novosibirsk.

–IANS

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