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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 January 2006, 00:32 GMT
Kyrgyz wrestling hero shot dead
A prominent Kyrgyz wrestler, Raatbek Sanatbayev, who was running for the presidency of the country's Olympic committee, has been shot dead.

The Kyrgyz authorities say Sanatbayev was killed by gunmen near his home in the capital, Bishkek, on Sunday. There have been no arrests so far.

They say his killing could be linked to his candidacy for the Olympic job - a post seen as influential in Kyrgyzstan.

The previous post holder, Bayaman Erkinbayev, was also killed violently.

Erkinbayev, who was a member of the country's parliament, died last September during a wave of unrest that swept the country.

Police say his killing may have been connected to the supply of illegal drugs to prisons.

Volatile

President Kurmanbek Bakiev called the death of Mr Sanatbayev, a Greco-Roman wrestler and one of the country's most successful athletes, "a great loss to the national sport".

He was twice Asian Games champion and a bronze medallist at the world championships.

"Two unknown men approached Sanatbayev as he left a shopping centre," a police spokeswoman said.

"One of them shot him in the head. He was taken to hospital but died there."

There are about 20 candidates for the presidency of Kyrgyzstan's national Olympic committee.

Kyrgyzstan has been volatile since popular protests at a flawed parliamentary election drove President Askar Akayev from power in March.


SEE ALSO:
'Drug link' to Kyrgyz MP's death
29 Nov 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Gunmen kill Kyrgyzstan politician
22 Sep 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Bakiev sworn in as Kyrgyz leader
14 Aug 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Protesters clash at Kyrgyz court
01 Jun 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Akayev quits as Kyrgyz president
04 Apr 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: Kyrgyzstan
19 Oct 05 |  Country profiles


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