Kharlan receives new World Cup disqualification after refusing to shake hands with Russian woman
Ukrainian fencer Olga Kharlan will no longer compete at the 2023 World Championships, which are currently taking place in Milan, Italy. Our compatriot was disqualified in the individual competition for refusing to shake hands with Russian Anna Smirnova, but the sanctions will also apply to the team tournament.
Kharlan herself said this in an interview with the Italian newspaper Pianeta Scherma. She expressed disagreement with her disqualification, noting that she had a verbal agreement with the interim president of the International Fencing Federation (FIE), Emmanuel Katsiadakis, that she would not shake hands with the Russian.
"I was verbally authorised by Katsiadakis, the FIE delegation spoke to us about it. To be honest, I love this sport, but the Russians want to destroy our lives, our love for this sport and our careers in many different ways. I don't know what will happen next, but I know I won't be competing in this championship anymore and my team will have to compete without me. Now we'll see how long this suspension lasts," said Kharlan.
It should be noted that Emmanuel Katsiadakis is temporarily acting as the head of the FIE after the suspension of Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov. Olga Kharlan refused to welcome Anna Smirnova to the 2023 World Cup, after which the Russian staged a real circus, refusing to leave the track. At the same time, the Russian representative does not meet the criteria of a neutral athlete, openly supporting the Russian Armed Forces.
The Ukrainian Fencing Federation stood up for Kharlan and is preparing to appeal her disqualification. Our sabre fencer herself said that she was simply killed by the decision to exclude her from the tournament.
At the same time, Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin said that Kharlan had crossed all boundaries by refusing to welcome her rival from the aggressor country.
As OBOZREVATEL previously reported, MP and Olympic wrestling champion Zhan Beleniuk said that Kharlan and the International Fencing Federation (FIE) had initially agreed to a deal that provided for a refusal to shake hands with the Russian. Later, the head coach of the Ukrainian national fencing team, Natalia Konrad, explained what actually happened to Kharlan.