Figure skaters to open first Sochi arena

MOSCOW Fri Oct 5, 2012 9:44am EDT

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Former European figure skating champions Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov will be among the athletes taking part in the opening of the first Olympic ice arena in Sochi on Saturday.

The 12,000-seat Iceberg Skating Palace, which will stage the figure skating and short track events in February 2014, was the first arena to be completed for the Winter Games in the Russian Black Sea resort.

Japan-born Kavaguti and Smirnov, who won the European pairs title in 2010 and also finished fourth at the Vancouver Olympics that year, will be competing in the Russian Federation Cup at the weekend, the organizers said on Friday.

The Sochi arena will also host the first major international competition - the figure skating Grand Prix - in December.

(Reporting By Gennady Fyodorov; Editing by Alison Wildey)

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