"Calling it into question": NOC of Ukraine reacts to Kharlan scandal at World Cup for the first time
A day after Olga Kharlan was disqualified for refusing to shake hands with a Russian woman at the World Fencing Championships, the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of Ukraine came out in support of the athlete. The organisation sent an official letter to its international counterparts (IOC) demanding that they intervene in the situation.
This is stated on the official website of the NOC of Ukraine. In an address to IOC chief Thomas Bach, the committee's president, Vadym Gutzeit, expressed outrage and called the situation with sanctions against the Ukrainian Beijing 2008 champion unacceptable at a time when Russia continues to wage a criminal war against our country.
"Since this situation calls into question the principle of fair competition for Ukrainian athletes with 'independent neutral athletes' under the recommended conditions, we ask you and the IOC Executive Committee to urgently intervene in this case so that Olga Kharlan can continue to participate in team events at the 2023 World Fencing Championships in Milan, as well as to prevent similar situations in other sports..." the letter reads.
It should be noted that earlier the IOC had addressed the federations with a recommendation to take a more responsible attitude to the matches between Ukrainians and Russians, expressing solidarity with our compatriots. This angered Russia. The aggressor country's sports minister, Oleg Matitsyn, said that Kharlan had crossed all boundaries by refusing to congratulate her opponent. And the president of the Russian Olympic Committee, Stanislav Pozdnyakov, accused the IOC of showing "sensitivity and delicacy" to the Ukrainian.
We would like to remind you that Anna Smirnova staged a real circus after Kharlan refused to shake hands with her - she refused to leave the track and sat on a chair on it. Later, Olga's rival lodged a protest against the outcome of the fight and demanded that the Ukrainian be punished.
As OBOZREVATEL previously reported, the Ukrainian Fencing Federation stood up for Olga Kharlan and is preparing to appeal her disqualification from the World Championships. The sabre fencer herself said that she was simply killed by the decision to exclude her from the tournament. She also said that she would not take part in the team tournament.