Russian biathlete Timofey Lapshin has become the latest competitor to become a naturalised South Korean after he was granted citizenship, it has been announced.
Lapshin, a double International Biathlon Union (IBU) World Cup gold medallist, will now be able to represent his adopted country at international competitions, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.
The 29-year-old joins fellow Russian biathletes Anna Frolina, Alexander Starodubets and Ekaterina Avvakumova in being given a South Korean passport.
It is part of a plan to help South Korea increase competitiveness in winter sports in time for next year's Olympic Games in Pyeongchang.
Lapshin is eligible to compete for South Korea as early as tomorrow, when the IBU World Cup in Pyeongchang, a test event for next year's Games, is due to begin at the Alpensia Biathlon Centre.
South Korea only has 50 biathletes in the country and was ranked 25th in both the men and women's biathlon rankings for the 2015-2016 season.
The country needs to reach at least number 22 by the end of the current campaign to earn two automatic places at Pyeongchang 2018.
If it fails to do so, it needs to enter the wild card race where all countries from number 23 downwards will compete for 12 slots.
Foreign athletes have also become naturalised South Koreans in ice hockey, luge and figure skating.
A host of biathletes who won gold at the recent IBU World Championships in Hochfilzen last month are set to compete at the World Cup in Pyeongchang, due to conclude on Sunday (March 5).
The Norwegian trio of Norway’s Emil Hegle Svensen and brothers Johannes Thingnes Bø and Tarjei Bø have not travelled to the South Korean resort.
Russia’s Olga Podchufarova, bronze medallist in the mixed relay in the Austrian town, also finished her season at the World Championships.
The event is scheduled to begin with the women's 7.5 kilometres sprint race.
Organisers are expecting warm temperatures and races will be held in the evening local time to match up with the European time zone.