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Kavaguti and Smirnov forced to miss Europeans

Smirnov in need of more recovery time after undergoing surgery for appendicitis

Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov hope Smirnov can recover for the World Championships.
Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov hope Smirnov can recover for the World Championships. (Getty Images)

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By icenetwork.com
(01/12/2012) - Russian pairs team Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov will not compete at the European Championships in Sheffield, Great Britain, the Russian news agency RIA Novosti first reported. Smirnov fell ill with appendicitis and will need more recovery time before the Jan. 23-29 event.

This will be the second straight competition missed by the 2010 European champions; Kavaguti and Smirnov had already opted out of the Russian Championships in late December. Smirnov came down with appendicitis just before that event. He went in for surgery Jan. 4, and his recovery from the procedure has been slow.

"Alex had surgery to remove his appendix just a week ago and under these circumstances, we decided it would be better not to take unnecessary risks," the pair's coach, Tatiana Moskvina, told Reuters.

Ksenia Stolbova and Fyodor Klimov, who finished second at the Russian championships, will compete in Kavaguti and Smirnov's place.

Once Smirnov's health has been restored, the team plans to begin preparing for the 2012 World Figure Skating Championships, set to take place March 26-April 1 in Nice.

Kavaguti and Smirnov are three-time national champions (2008-10) and were gold medalists at the 2010 European Championships. In their most recent event, they finished third at the Grand Prix Final.