MOSCOW, March 23 (R-Sport) – Promising Russian figure skater Polina Shelepen is to compete for Israel, her coach Svetlana Sokolovskaya told R-Sport on Saturday.
Shelepen, 17, was born in Moscow and still lives in the Russian capital, but she has Israeli roots and recently received an Israeli passport.
International Skating Union regulations say anyone who switches allegiances is disqualified from Grand Prix competition for a year and Olympic competition for 18 months, meaning Shelepen will miss the Sochi 2014 Winter Games in February.
"The change of allegiance has been in the plans for quite a while," Sokolovskaya said. "The primary goal was the next Olympic cycle (after Sochi)."
Shelepen claimed the silver medal at the Junior Grand Prix Finals in 2010 and 2012, before switching to the senior level this season.
In September, she won her first senior Ice Star competition in Minsk, Belarus. She finished 10th at Skate Canada in October, her only Grand Prix appearance of the season.