Cy­clist Perkins gets nod from Putin for Rus­sia switch

Global Times - Weekend - - SPORTS -

Aus­tralian cy­clist Shane Perkins has been given the green light to at­tain Rus­sian cit­i­zen­ship by Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin, paving the way for the twice world cham­pion to rep­re­sent his new coun­try at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

The Mel­bourne-born 30-year-old won a sprint bronze for Aus­tralia at the 2012 Olympic Games in Lon­don but missed out on se­lec­tion for last year’s Rio Games.

“The Pres­i­dent re­solved to grant Rus­sian Fed­er­a­tion cit­i­zen­ship to Shane Alan Perkins,” the Krem­lin said in a state­ment on its web­site.

Perkins posted a picture of him­self on Twit­ter wear­ing Rus­sia colours on his bike and wrote: “I’m the most ex­cited guy in the world right now! I can make my dreams come true!”

Perkins, a good friend of Rus­sia’s reign­ing world cham­pion sprinter De­nis Dmitriev, who took bronze in the sprint at Rio, be­gan se­ri­ously con­sid­er­ing de­fect­ing less than a year ago. He told lo­cal me­dia that he was frus­trated at be­ing shut out of Aus­tralia’s high per­for­mance pro­gram.

Perkin’s fa­ther Daryl, a former na­tional cham­pion, raced in the now de­funct tan­dem sprint with Ian Browne at the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games. They were beaten by the sil­ver medal-win­ning Soviet Union pair of Imants Bod­nieks and Vik­tor Lo­gunov in the quar­ter fi­nals.

Aus­tralia has granted cit­i­zen­ship to a num­ber of top Rus­sian ath­letes over the years, in­clud­ing women’s ten­nis player Daria Gavrilova, the world No.26, and former Euro­pean cham­pion speed skater Ta­tiana Boro­dulina.

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