Ice queen gets green and gold light

IT’S been a fight for Russian-born Tatiana Borodulina, but finally she can skate for Australia at the Winter Olympics.She donned fatigues when she joined the Australian Army Reserve in an effort to speed along her citizenship approval but the talented speed skater will no longer have to serve, after the Rudd Government yesterday announced proposed changes to the Citizenship Act.It was a relief for Borodulina, 24, who arrived in Australia in July 2006 and missed becoming an automatic Australian citizen by just 18 days when the Act changed in 2007.Borodulina joined the Australian Army Reserve because it shortened the citizenship time to six months, but the Australian Olympic Committee sought to have the Citizens Act amended to re-establish the consideration for distinguished talent.The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, made the announcement following approaches from AOC president John Coates.The proposed amendments to be tabled in Federal Parliament next month will reduce the residency requirements from four years to two for athletes of distinguished sporting talent.”Once the legislation is passed and immediately following Royal Assent, an Australian Citizenship ceremony will be conducted for Tatiana before the 2010 Olympic Winter Games qualification events in November,” AOC director of sport Fiona de Jong said. “We are extremely grateful to Chris Evans and the Federal Government for their understanding and support which will benefit athletes from a number of Olympic sports.”Borodulina, a former European champion and a finalist at the Turin 2006 Games, decided to move to Australia after two years of consideration. She relocated from her industrial home town of Omsk in Siberia to Brisbane, leaving behind her parents and younger sister and a boyfriend, to try to improve her skating under the respected coach Ann Zhang.Yesterday, the chef de mission of the Australian Winter Olympic team, Ian Chesterman, said: “Tatiana has been competing for Australia for the past couple of years … She is world class, and athletes with her ability lift the standard of all Australian skaters. The Russians have tried to lure her back to compete for them but she wants to stay in Australia, this is her new home … Tatiana loves Australia. She is proud to wear the green and gold.”

Nanjing Night Net

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