Svetlana Zhurova is "surprised" that the International Skating Union has removed a World Cup event from Chelyabinsk ©Getty Images

Former Winter Olympic speed skating champion Svetlana Zhurova has said she was “surprised” by the International Skating Union’s (ISU) decision to take a World Cup event away from Russia.

Yesterday, the sport’s governing body announced the planned event at Chelyabinsk on March 10 to 12 would be held at a different venue following the publication of the second part of the McLaren Report.

A statement released by the ISU said “the focus of the event would not be on the sport, but rather accusations and controversies” revolving around state-sponsored Russian doping issues raised in the report.

A new venue has not been announced.

Chelyabinsk had been due to host an ISU World Cup event from March 10 to 12 ©Getty Images
Chelyabinsk had been due to host an ISU World Cup event from March 10 to 12 ©Getty Images

“I’m very surprised by this decision, because foreigners always enjoyed coming to Chelyabinsk,” Zhurova, who won gold in the women’s 500 metres event at Turin in 2006 and is now deputy chairman of the Russian Duma’s International Committee, told Tass.

“Maybe they have found some sort of compromise with those who are trying to somehow put pressure on them, something like “let’s move the speed skaters out, but leave the figure skaters”, and see what happens.”

It was also confirmed yesterday that the World Junior Biathlon Championships along with a World Cup event from the sport would also be removed from Russia.

Earlier this month, Sochi was stripped of the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) World Championships due to take place in February.

Konigssee in Germany will host the event instead.