• Kyodo

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The Akita pup that will be gifted to Russian Olympic champion figure skater Alina Zagitova was shown to the public Thursday at a dog show in the breed’s namesake prefecture.

The female puppy was chosen by the 15-year-old gold medalist from a group of candidate dogs offered by an organization dedicated to preserving the Akita breed.

The dog’s current owner, Masami Hamada, brought the 2-month-old puppy to the Akita Dog Exhibition.

“I’m happy that my dog was chosen. She is a friendly puppy so I hope she will be cherished by Miss Zagitova,” Hamada said.

A ceremony will be held later this month in Moscow to present the dog to the figure skater, according to the group, which is based in Odate, Akita Prefecture.

The group decided to offer an Akita puppy to Zagitova as a gift after discovering her fondness for the breed. The skater developed a love for Akita dogs after seeing photos in a magazine while training in Japan before the Pyeongchang Games.

Zagitova said she asked her mother if she could have an Akita if she did well at the Olympics.

She plans to name her dog “Masaru,” meaning victory when written using kanji characters, even though it is traditionally a male name in Japan.

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