Former Aussie world cycling champion becomes Russian citizen
FORMER Australian world cycling champion Shane Perkins has been granted Russian citizenship by President Vladimir Putin, meaning he could compete for his adopted country at the Tokyo Olympics.
The 30-year-old missed the cut for the Australian track cycling team for the Rio Games, prompting him earlier this year to announce he would switch allegiance to Russia.
Perkins, who was born in Melbourne, has no family ties to Russia and was reportedly encouraged to make the switch by his Russian training partner, Denis Dmitriev.
"I'm very grateful and I'd particularly like to thank the Russian Cycling Federation, President Vladimir Putin, my coach Vladimir Khozov and the strong team of people behind me that have made this transition possible," Perkins told his website.
"I'm ready to race for Russia at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, I am working very hard to continually raise the bar in my performances both at training and in racing, and will continue to do so every step of the way in the lead-up to and at the Games."
Perkins won the bronze medal in the individual sprint at the 2012 London Olympics and became world champion in the keirin in 2011.
He is currently competing in Russia's national championships in Saint Petersburg.