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Borodulina among first picked for Australia

SYDNEY, Australia - SYDNEY, Australia (AP) — Little more than three months after gaining her citizenship, Russian-born speed skater Tatiana Borodulina was among the first two athletes selected for Australia's team for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

The Australian Olympic Committee announced Tuesday that Borodulina and Lachlan Hay had won selection for the short track team.

Borodulina, who was a finalist for Russia in the 1,500 meters at the 2006 Turin Olympics, qualified to compete in the 500, 1,000 and 1,500 short track events. She learned of her selection at her training base in Canada on the eve of her 25th birthday, the AOC said in a statement.

Hay, 23, beat housemate Jeremy Beck for the one men's spot on the Australian short track team. He will race in the 1,000 event after competing in 2006 as a rookie member of the Australian relay team.

Borodulina, who gained Australian citizenship when the Senate agreed to amend residency requirements for foreign-born athletes and some other professional workers, is considered a medal prospect in Vancouver.

Being selected for Australia "is very special for Tatiana and now she is in Calgary doing the volume she missed earlier in the season," Australia coach Ann Zhang said. "She will be ready for the Games."

Borodulina moved to Australia in 2006 but missed the cutoff point for becoming an Australian citizen by 18 days when the former government of prime minister John Howard tightened the rules in 2007 and extended the qualifying residency period to four years.

Under the recently amended requirements, elite athletes who compete internationally and professional workers with frequent overseas travel commitments as part of their employment can become eligible for citizenship after fulfilling a two-year residency period.


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