Man confessed to murdering Olympic figure skater Denis Ten while a second attacker was arrested, police said

The 25-year-old was stabbed to death in his home city of Almaty

PUBLISHED : Friday, 20 July, 2018, 8:04am
UPDATED : Saturday, 21 July, 2018, 5:26am

One of two men detained on suspicion of killing Olympic figure skating medallist Denis Ten in Kazakhstan has confessed, authorities said Friday.

Prosecutor Berik Zhuyrektayev said in a televised statement that Nuraly Kiyasov “confessed his guilt in the presence of an attorney” while being questioned over the 25-year-old skater’s death Thursday in the Kazakh city of Almaty. The prosecutor didn’t give further details of what exactly Kiyasov had said.

Police have also detained 23-year-old Arman Kudaibergenov in connection with Ten’s death, which has prompted national mourning. Authorities released a picture of the dishevelled-looking man being held by masked men wearing body armour and camouflage uniforms.

Ten was stabbed after a dispute with people who allegedly tried to steal a mirror from his car in his home city of Almaty. He died in hospital of massive blood loss from multiple wounds, the Kazinform news agency said. Prosecutors are treating his death as murder.

Kazinform reported that Kiyasov was taken to the scene of the crime under heavy security Friday as part of the investigation.

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.

He also won the Four Continents championships in 2015, and was a world championship silver medallist in 2013. He struggled with injuries in recent years and could only finish 27th at the Pyeongchang Olympics in February.

Ten had been working on a script in recent months which the Kazakh-Russian director Timur Bekmambetov said Friday would now be turned into a movie.

“We’re definitely going to try to realize his idea and shoot a film dedicated to this multi-talented person,” Bekmambetov said in comments released by Kazakhstan’s embassy to Russia.

“In his 25 years, Ten managed to do very much and had grand plans which he would surely have put into practice because he was a real hard worker.”

Canadian skater Patrick Chan, who won silver in the same competition, said on Twitter he was “honored 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.

“His shining achievements brought glory to our country and helped popularise sport among young people,” Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev said.

“Denis was not only an excellent athlete, whose talents was recognised and honoured in many countries of the world, but also a remarkable personality and a true patriot of Kazakhstan.”

Ten hadn’t formally retired from skating, but in recent months he’d often spoken of his studies in economics and his movie script.

“Independently of what happens in the future, I realise that I had a great career, where everything happened – highs and lows, medals and disappointments, nice memories and not so nice ones, unique events, meetings and many magical things,” Ten said in September in an interview with the ISU website.

“Somewhere I realise that I was a really lucky person with a quite fulfilled sports life.”