Putin grants Russian citizenship to Australian track cyclist Shane Perkins

Putin grants Russian citizenship to Australian track cyclist Shane Perkins
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree to grant citizenship to Australian two-time world champion and Olympic bronze medal-winning track cyclist Shane Perkins.

The decree was published on Russia’s official internet-portal of legal information on Thursday, stating: “Acceptance of citizenship of the Russian Federation, Shane Alan Perkins, born on December 30, 1986, in Australia.”

Perkins made his intention to gain Russian citizenship known in February in a bid to appear for the Russian cycling team at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, having been left out of the Australian team for Rio 2016.

“The Russian Cycling Federation has given me another opportunity to chase my dreams of Olympic representation in Tokyo 2020 which has special significance to me as my father raced the Olympics in Tokyo 1964,” the 30-year-old said in a post to his social media accounts at the time.

Perkins has excellent cycling pedigree, winning in the Keirin at the UCI Track World Championships in 2011 and in the Team Sprint at the 2012 Championships, the same year he won bronze in the sprint event at the London 2012 Olympics.

Nicknamed ‘Perko’, he is also a Commonwealth gold medalist and is Australia’s reigning Keirin champion.

The Brisbane native has been training in Russia in St. Petersburg, where he won sprint gold as part of the Moscow team at the national championships.

“Team sprint gold for our team! This was a really nice feeling! First race for Moscow team and we took the Gold at national championships!” Perkins wrote on social media.

Perkins was pleased with the state of the track, the city, and  in St. Petersburg.

“1st session and 1st time in Saint Petersburg what a beautiful city! Track is something else also haven't ridden a track like it in the world! Really aggressive transitions - love it!!” he posted on Facebook.