"It's too much": Russian world champion criticises Kharlan's disqualification with the words "she did the right thing"
Russia's top chess player Yan Nepomnyashchy has spoken out against the months-long disqualification of fencer Olga Kharlan for refusing to shake hands with her Russian rival at the 2023 World Championships. The former contender for the title of the world's strongest grandmaster, which he lost to Ding Lizhen of China, called the decision of the International Federation (FIE) too much.
Nepomnyashchy said this in an interview with the propaganda news agency RIA Novosti. The 33-year-old two-time winner of the World Team Championships, who signed a letter condemning the war in Ukraine, supported Kharlan, stressing that our athletes have the right to behave in this way towards representatives of the aggressor country.
"I don't think there was any malicious intent. You have to understand the situation of each person. From her point of view, as well as from the point of view of her compatriots, Kharlan did the right thing. I think the Russians have a different opinion. I didn't go into the details, but a disqualification for several months is probably too much. I don't think they should apply too serious sanctions," Nepomnyashchy said.
At the recent World Championships in Milan, Kharlan refused to shake hands with Russian Anna Smirnova, driving her rival to hysteria. She staged a real circus, refusing to leave the track, and lodged a protest against the result of the duel, which was rejected. At the same time, the Russian representative does not meet the criteria of a neutral athlete, openly supporting the Russian Armed Forces.
As OBOZREVATEL previously reported, in an interview with our publication, Olga Kharlan admitted how she reacted to her disqualification from the World Cup after refusing to shake hands with a Russian woman.