By Duncan Mackay

Rene_Fasel_awards_jersey_to_Vladimir_Putin_Bratislava_May_13_2011May 13 - Vladimir Putin has again been instrumental in helpng Russia being awarded another major event after they were chosen to host the 2016 Ice Hockey World Championships.

Rivals Ukraine and Denmark both withdrew before the final vote at the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Congress in Bratislava.

Putin joined the Russian delegation, which included Russian Hockey Federation President Vladislav Tretyak, Deputy Mayor of Moscow Alexander Gorbenko, and the country's Deputy Minister of Sport, Tourism and Youth Policy Yury Nagornykh for the announcement of the decision.

Just as he had done in Zurich in December when Russia were awarded the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the Russian Prime Minister addressed the audience in English.

"I can promise you that the World Championship will be staged at the highest level," he said.

"Russia has fully deserved to stage this Championship because of its great desire to stage a great event and promote the ideas of sportsmanship, athleticism and fair play.

"In fact, today we need a new starting point to revive the spirit of hockey.

Putin also claimed to having some "first-hand experience of playing this truly great game" of hockey.

"I took time too to learn to skate and I must admit it was not easy...not even for a person who has been practicing sports for decades," he said

While Russia got the Championships, Putin also received a special gift from the President of the IIHF, Rene Fasel – a hockey jersey with the Russian Prime Minister's name on the back.

Putin's personal involvement also played a significant role in the success of his country's bid to host the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, as well as the 2018 World Cup.

Moscow last hosted the World Championships in 2007 at the new 14,000-seat Megasport Arena, while St Petersburg was the venue of the 2000 tournament.

The World Championships in 2016 will begin on April 29, with the final scheduled for May 15.

Moscow's Megasport Arena and Ice Palace in St Petersburg are scheduled to hold matches on this occasion.

Moscow's Megasport Arena also hosted the World Figure Skating Championships last month after Japan abandoned its plans to stage the event following the deadly earthquake and tsunami.

The estimated budget for the event is $14 million (£8.5 million).

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