Russia's paralympic athletes prepare for Athens

Russia's equestrian championship for disabled people, which will be held on May 29-30 at the training Olympic center Planyornaya in the Moscow region, will be another stage in the preparations of Russian paralympic athletes before the Games in Athens.

Horse riders from Yaroslavl (the Volga region), Irkutsk (Siberia), Yekaterinburg (the Urals), Moscow and the Moscow region will participate in the Russian championship, the organizing committee of the tournament disclosed to a RIA Novosti correspondent.

A solemn opening and a team championship are scheduled for Saturday. On Sunday the horse riders will compete in the compulsory and free programs.

Judging by the results of the tournament the Russian Paralympic team will be formed in order to participate in September in the Paralympic Games in Athens.

At the Winter Paralympic Games in Salt Lake City the Russian team took the gold in the men's ski relay and the silver in the women's ski relay.

The gold winners were Sergei Shilov, Irek Mannanov and Nikolai Ilyuchenko. Thanks to Mannanov the Russian team left the US team 1.6 seconds behind and with silver medals. The Norwegian team got bronze medals.

The silver medals winners in the women's ski relay were Irina Polyakova, Elvira Ibragimova and Tatyana Ilyuchenko. The gold went to Norwegian and the bronze to the Finnish teams.

Following the redistribution of the standings due to the suspension of German athlete Thomas Oelsner, who won gold medals in biathlon and in short distance ski race, Russia's Valery Dorovski received the silver instead of the bronze. Thus, the Russian Paralympic team finished the games with five gold, seven silver and four bronze medals.

It's worth to acknowledge that the Paralympics were never popular in Russia. Therefore, the victories of the Russian skiers must be considered as an outstanding achievement.

One can hope that the Russian athletes will show their high-class skills at the Games in Athens.

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Author`s name: Editorial Team