A “very good” 22-year-old Russian athlete is on the brink of competing for Ukraine, the president of the country’s biathlon federation has reportedly revealed.
Biathlon supremo Volodymyr Brynzak is said to have initially played down talk of Daria Sidorova, a promising athlete from the Tyumen region in Siberia, making a transition to represent Ukraine after she was spotted training alongside the national team.
Sidorova reportedly took part in the recent Ukrainian championships as a representative of the country’s Transcarpathian region, with Brynzak appearing to confirm that arrangements are in place to formalize her switch.
“We are now waiting for a presidential decree on her citizenship,” Brynzak was quoted as saying by Suspilne.
“As soon as there is a decree and she receives a passport, she will enter Kiev State University and, hopefully, will perform at the Universiade in December this year.
“She will gradually adapt to Ukraine and try to get into the team next year to train in the new Olympic cycle.”
Brynzak said he sees promise in the newcomer. “She is a very good and young athlete with potential,” he said. “I think she will help us.”
The outlet suggested that Sidorova will be subject to a two-year ‘quarantine’ for athletes wishing to switch country, and that the period could have been considered to have started from when she last represented Russia, in January 2020 – leaving the starlet with a matter of months before she can potentially turn out for Ukraine under purported International Biathlon Union rules.
Speaking to Suspilne in May, Brynzak said that she had started training in Ukraine on the guidance of her late former coach, Roman Zubrilov.
“He really wanted her to be here, to play,” he explained. “I negotiated with Ukrainian coaches – it was his initiative. After he died, she really wanted to move here and train the way he wanted. It started more than a year ago.
“In order for her to be able to [compete] and get citizenship, she needs to train, play in the Ukrainian championship, get into the team and then, perhaps, [perform] for Ukraine.
“But this requires a long [process] and [we are] still only at the beginning. There is no topic at all to talk about.”
Sidorova is said to have finished in the top 20 of the IBU Junior Cup in the 2019/20 season and failed to qualify for the World Cup in the 2020/21 season, as well as coming fourth in the relay race at the Russian championship in the Tyumen region in March.
Five ex-Russian athletes are reportedly in the current Ukraine team, with another offered the chance in 2020 before joining Romania.
Also on rt.com