Murder inquiry under way after skater stabbed to death in Kazakhstan

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Kazakhstan police have launched a murder inquiry after Olympic figure skating medallist Denis Ten was killed.

Ten was stabbed after a dispute with people who allegedly tried to steal a mirror from his car in his home city of Almaty, Kazakh news agencies reported on Thursday.

Doctors in Almaty say he died in hospital there aged 25.

Born in Kazakhstan to a family of Korean descent, Ten’s bronze at the Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014 made him Kazakhstan’s first medallist in figure skating.

Canadian skater Patrick Chan, who won silver in the same competition, said on Twitter he was “honoured and grateful to have shared the ice” with Ten.

“One of the most beautiful skaters to have graced our sport. My thoughts are with his family during this unimaginable time.”

The International Skating Union said it was “deeply saddened” by news of Ten’s death.

“Today is truly a dark day for all of us who knew and loved this young figure skater and were inspired by his talent and creativity,” Kazakhstan Olympic Committee president Timur Kulibayev said in a statement.

“Throughout his sporting career, Denis set an example with his motivation, strength of spirit and his champion’s personality.”

Figure Skater Killed
Denis Ten, of Kazakhstan, skating in Moscow (Ivan Sekretarev/AP)

Ten struggled with injuries in recent years and could manage only 27th at the Olympics in Pyeongchang in February.

Ten had not formally retired from skating but in recent months he had often spoken of his studies in economics and his plans to write a movie script.

International Olympic Committee chairman Thomas Bach said: “Denis Ten was a great athlete and a great ambassador for his sport.

“A warm personality and a charming man.

“Such a tragedy to lose him at such a young age.”

Britain’s former Olympic champion Robin Cousins also lamented Ten’s death.

He tweeted: “I’m so very sad to hear that one of skatings current greats has lost his life in a mindless knife attack in an attempt to steal his car mirrors in Kazakhstan. RIP Dennis Ten. Your glorious performances of natural and fluid skating will ensure your legacy lives on in our sport.”

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