The Russian pentathlon athletes Alexander Savkin and Alise Fakhrutdinova took up the Uzbek sport nationality, the Uzbekistan Federation of Modern Pentathlon said in a statement. The Executive Committee of the International Union of Modern Pentathlon (UIPM) has allowed the two athletes to represent Uzbekistan in international competitions.
The naturalization of Russian athletes was reportedly the result of the Cooperation Memorandum signed between the Federation of Modern Pentathlon Federation of Uzbekistan and Russia on February 16 this year.
Savkin and Fakhrutdinova are on their way to Novogorsk for a training camp. They are preparing for the Modern Pentathlon World Cup in Budapest from September 2-8.
The modern pentathlon is an Olympic sport that comprises five different events; fencing (one-touch épée), freestyle swimming (200 m), equestrian show jumping (15 jumps), and a final combined event of pistol shooting and cross country running (3200 m).
Recently, a number of foreign athletes have obtained the Uzbek nationality: cyclist Olga Zabelinskaya, swimmer Yana Obvintseva and Yana Alborova, and Mexican sabre fencer Paola Pliego.
In 2016 Rio Games Uzbekistan left with a total of 13 medals (4 gold, 2 silver, and 7 bronze), signifying the nation's most successful outcome in Olympic history, fielding a team of 70 athletes, 47 men and 23 women, across 15 sports at the Games.
The new Uzbekistan authorities are striving to field the maximum number of licenses for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and they are taking it personal, in the best Soviet traditions when politics and sports were intertwined, to improve by all means and at all cost the previous medals record achieved during the reign of the late president Islam Karimov.
Athletes will pocket 100 million soums, or US$ 12,000 just for obtaining the Olympic license, with the authorities expected to give away the whopping US$ 150,000, 100,000 and 75,000 cheques for Olympic gold, silver and bronze, respectively.