UPDATE 1-Ice hockey-Russia to host 2016 world championship

Fri May 13, 2011 8:22am EDT

* Russia wins after Denmark and Ukraine pull out

* Moscow and St Petersburg named host cities

(adds Putin quotes, paras 6-7)

MOSCOW, May 13 (Reuters) - Russia won the right to stage the 2016 world ice hockey championship on Friday, the latest in a series of international sporting events to be awarded to the world's largest country.

"Russia will host the world championship in five years in Moscow and St. Petersburg in state-of-the-art venues," the sport's world governing body said on its website (www.iihf.com).

"The event will take place from April 29 to May 15, 2016, and coincide with the 70-year anniversary of Russian ice hockey."

The Russians had been favourites to land the 2016 tournament after Prime Minister Vladimir Putin arrived at the current world championship in Bratislava on Friday to throw his weight behind their campaign.

The IIHF congress in Bratislava voted for Russia after two other bidders for 2016, Denmark and Ukraine, withdrew their nominations.

"I can promise you that the world championship will be staged at the highest level," Putin told the IIHF delegates in English, adding that all players, officials and fans would get top quality service and free transportation to and from arenas.

"Russia has fully deserved to stage this championship."

Moscow last hosted the world championship in 2007 at the new 14,000-seat Khodynka arena, while St Petersburg was the venue of the 2000 tournament.

Moscow's Khodynka arena also hosted the world figure skating championships last month after Japan abandoned its plans to stage the event following the deadly earthquake and tsunami.

Putin has also helped Russia land the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and the 2018 soccer World Cup. (Reporting by Gennady Fyodorov; editing by Mark Meadows) To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)

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