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Report: Stolbova, Klimov won't compete at worlds

Reigning silver medalists opt to focus on preparation for next season
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Russia's Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov have finished second at two of their last three competitions. -Getty Images

The Russian news service R-Sport reported Saturday that reigning world silver medalists Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov won't compete at the 2015 World Championships. Their spot will be taken by Kristina Ashtakova and Andrei Rogonov.

The news came via Alexander Kogan, the director general of the Figure Skating Federation of Russia. Kogan told R-Sport that the federation, along with the pair's coaches, Nina Mozer and Vladislav Zhovnirski, decided early on that the team would cut its season short either after the Russian championships or the European championships so that it could focus on preparing for next season. Ultimately, it decided on the latter.

Stolbova and Klimov won both of their Grand Prix events last fall, placed second at the Grand Prix Final, won Russian nationals and took the silver at Europeans. Both of the teams they've lost to this season -- Canada's Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford and fellow Russians Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov -- have throw quads in their programs, something Stolbova and Klimov lack.

In an interview on the federation's website, Mozer said that the team is working to incorporate that element into its repertoire.

"It's hard, hard work, not momentary," Mozer said of stepping up the team's technical content. "We need time. Absolutely, it would not be enough [time] if we were to deal with this work in April."

According to Mozer, the team has also started the process of picking its music for next season with choreographer Nikoli Morozov.

Mozer said that by ending their season early and concentrating on making enhancements to their skating, the team has more to gain in the long run.

"The main focus will be on next season, with an eye on the new Olympic cycle," Mozer said.

This will be Ashtakova and Rogonv's first appearance at the world championships. In their first season together, the pair finished fourth at the Russian championships and collected the bronze at the Rostelecom Cup.