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‘Look at her, could she ever hurt anyone?’ Coach defends US skater accused of slashing rival

‘Look at her, could she ever hurt anyone?’ Coach defends US skater accused of slashing rival
Renowned figure skating coach Rafael Arutyunyan has denied allegations that one of his charges, Mariah Bell, deliberately slashed South Korean rival Lim Eun-soo during an official practice session at the world championships.

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On Thursday it was reported that the International Skating Union (ISU) would investigate the controversial incident after Korean officials lodged a complaint accusing the US athlete of intentionally injuring her Korean counterpart and training partner.

Bell came in close proximity with the Korean athlete while training her short program, apparently cutting Lim’s left leg with a blade of her skate. Acute pain forced the 16-year-old Korean to leave the arena and seek medical help.

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Lim's management agency All That Sports reported the incident to the Korean Skating Union, claiming that the 22-year-old American had deliberately kicked Lim with her blade, adding that the girls who have been training under Arutyunyan had a long-standing conflict between them.

But the prominent coach has now denied rumors about the alleged row between his skaters, insisting that Bell could not have intentionally injured her rival.

The thing is that Mariah’s program includes an element where she lays her leg back and stretches it. This is how it happened that she touched Lim’s leg with her blade. Of course it was not deliberately!” Arutyunyan told R-Sport after the scandal involving his skaters.

There has never been any confrontation between them at training sessions. And by the way, look at Mariah! Do you think this girl could offend anybody? I can’t even imagine who decided to write such kind of things about her.”

Lim posted her season best in the women’s short program, finishing in fifth place, while Bell is ranked sixth, trailing her Korean rival by more than a point.

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