Kavaguti and Smirnov to miss European championships

Third place Russia's Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov during the Pair's free skate program at the Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final December 10, 2011 in Quebec City (AFP Photo / Stan Honda)
Russia’s leading pair of Yuko Kavaguti and Aleksandr Smirnov will not be competing at the upcoming figure skating European Championships in Sheffield.

­Smirnov had his appendix removed on January 4 and, according to coach Tamara Moskvina, it will be impossible for him to fully recover from the surgery before the tournament, which kicks off in two weeks.

The young duo of Ksenia Stolbova and Fyodor Klimov will now travel to England as replacement.

"They have urgently applied for the UK visas,” Aleksandr Gorshkov, head of the Russian Figure Skating Federation, told RIA-Novosti, news agency. “They should make it in time.”

Kavaguti and Smirnov are currently Russia’s top pair. They have four European Championship medals in the bag, including gold in Tallinn 2010 as well as two bronze finishes at the Worlds.

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