Ukraine’s Kharlan disqualified after refusing to shake hands with Russian opponent

Ukraine’s Kharlan disqualified after refusing to shake hands with Russian opponent

Ukrainian fencer Olga Kharlan has been disqualified from the World Championships in Milan after she refused to shake hands with Russian fencer Anna Smirnova. Kharlan, a highly decorated athlete, won the individual sabre bout but instead of shaking hands, she tapped blades with her opponent. Smirnova remained on the piste for over half an hour after the incident, speaking with officials before leaving.

This incident is part of a larger trend among Ukrainian athletes who have refused to shake hands with Russian and Belarusian opponents following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The invasion has led to tensions between the two countries, with Moscow using Belarus as a staging ground for its military operations. In fencing, shaking hands with an opponent is mandatory, and failure to do so results in a ‘black card’.

The president of Ukraine’s fencing federation, Mykhailo Illiashev, expressed full support for Kharlan and stated that they are preparing a protest against the decision. Illiashev argued that the referee did not directly give a black card or disqualify Kharlan during the match. He believes that the disqualification was a result of underhanded games and only appeared after the next opponent and judge for the next competition were determined.

Ukrainian Sports Minister Vadym Huttsait described the incident as an obvious provocation from the Russian side. Huttsait claimed that Smirnova approached Kharlan and provoked her by holding her hand up for a long time. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba also criticized Smirnova’s actions, comparing them to the tactics used by the Russian army on the battlefield.

The Ukrainian fencing federation expects the appeal to be considered within the next few days. They aim to have the black card canceled to allow Kharlan to participate in the team competition, which will be held in Milan in a few days. The women’s team sabre event is scheduled to begin on July 29.

Kharlan is representing Ukraine at the competition after the country’s sports ministry relaxed its rules regarding national sports teams competing against Russian and Belarusian athletes. Smirnova, on the other hand, was competing as a neutral athlete. The International Fencing Federation (FIE) has not yet responded to requests for comment on the incident.

About News Team

Hi, I'm Alex Perez, an experienced writer with a focus on lifestyle and culture news. From food and fashion to travel and entertainment, I love exploring the latest trends and sharing my insights with readers. I also have a strong interest in world news and business, and enjoy covering breaking stories and events.

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