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7 Sep, 2022 14:55

Arson attack at Russian skating stars’ training base – media

The incident happened in the early hours of Wednesday morning in Moscow
Arson attack at Russian skating stars’ training base – media

A man has attempted to set light to a Moscow sports complex used by renowned figure skating trainer Eteri Tutberidze and a number of her stars, including the likes of Beijing 2022 Olympic champion Anna Shcherbakova, according to local media reports.

The incident happened overnight from Tuesday to Wednesday when a man approached the Khrustalny complex on Profsoyuznaya Street in the south of the Russian capital.

The man is said to have poured flammable liquid near a window and set fire to it before running off. Security staff promptly extinguished the fire before any significant damage was done.

The Khrustalny ice rink is among Russia’s most famous and is regularly used by Tutberidze and her stable of stars, including Beijing gold and silver medalists Shcherbakova and Alexandra Trusova, as well as women’s world record points holder Kamila Valieva.

The rink is part of the ‘Sambo-70’ sports and educational network, with the organization’s press service telling RIA Novosti that “everyone is alive and well, no one was hurt.”

The Baza Telegram channel shared footage of a man wearing a bright orange vest approaching the complex and trying to start a fire.

According to Baza, the would-be arsonist poured liquid – presumably gasoline mixed with oil – into a crack near a window before lighting it at the second attempt, then making off as smoke appeared. 

There were suggestions that the man, whose identity remains unknown, may have been targeting a nearby polling station, although Baza reported that police have dismissed that version of events as the station is not located near that side of the building.

Sambo-70 president Renat Laishev did not rule out the notion that disgruntled parents may be behind the incident, with the center not able to meet the high demand for young skating hopefuls to train there.

“I just want to say that recently everyone has got so crazy that their children should only train at Khrustalny. There were many calls, questions, conversations. I think these are related things. I don’t know about the details,” Laishev told RBC Sport.

Often using Khrustalny as a base, Tutberidze has enjoyed staggering success with her group of skaters in recent years.

That includes current crop Valieva, Shcherbakova, and Trusova, but also 2018 Olympic gold and silver medalists Alina Zagitova and Evgenia Medvedeva – both of whom are former world champions.