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Russia will host skating competition originally scheduled in Japan

By Maxim Tkachenko, CNN
Japan's Miki Ando performs at the ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships in Taipei on February 20, 2011.
Japan's Miki Ando performs at the ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships in Taipei on February 20, 2011.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The earthquake and tsunami in Japan scuttled plans for the event
  • Austria, Canada, Croatia, Finland, and the United States had also bid to host it
  • The skating championship will be held in Moscow's Megasport Arena
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Moscow (CNN) -- Moscow has been chosen as the venue for this year's international figure skating championship, to take place in April, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced Thursday at the start of a Russian cabinet meeting.

The championship was initially scheduled to take place this week in Tokyo, but was cancelled in the wake of Japan's massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami March 11.

"I would like to assure all our friends and partners, that their teams, all participants in the championship and all guests, will feel at home in Moscow," Putin said as he delivered the news.

The International Skating Union reported on its website Thursday that "after a careful evaluation" it had decided to allot the championship to Russia. It will be held April 24-May 1 in Moscow's Megasport Arena.

Austria, Canada, Croatia, Finland, and the United States were the other countries bidding to host it, the organization's statement said.

"The ISU is convinced that the Japanese delegation coming to Moscow deserves and will receive special attention and respect," the statement says. "At a time like this, words cannot express feelings but the ISU wants to let the skating friends of the Japan Skating Federation and the people of Japan know that the thoughts and wishes of the skating family continue to remain with them."

"This event wouldn't be expensive, and we could easily handle all the expenses related to it," Putin said Tuesday when first proposing Russia as the venue for the championship.

"The more so, that there are millions of figure skating fans (in Russia)," he said. "Our people would be happy to see this wonderful show ... We don't insist on anything, but if the International Union needs a helping hand, we would extend it with pleasure."