"To prove that Russia and Ukraine are together": Harlan accused the international federation of founding
The International Fencing Federation (FIS) has specially paired Ukrainian Olga Harlan with Russian Anna Smirnova for the 2023 World Championships in Milan. By doing so, the organization, which is controlled by the aggressor country, intended to demonstrate friendship between peoples and the inadmissibility of politicizing sports.
Harlan expressed this opinion in an interview with the British publication The Guadian. The Beijing 2008 Olympic champion admitted that she was embarrassed by the need to fight the Russian representative, but had a clear plan to refuse to shake hands with her.
"I couldn't believe it had happened. I was the only Ukrainian, she was the only Russian, and we had to fight each other. I think they wanted to use the handshake as a sign of peace, that there shouldn't be any politics in sports and all that. It was very important for them to take pictures and video it all to prove that Russia and Ukraine are together. But everything went wrong in their plan, because I had no other plan at all. I knew the handshake was coming, so of course I was prepared, but I couldn't prepare for her reaction and everything that followed," Harlan said.
As a reminder, at the 2023 World Cup, Harlan refused to shake hands with Smirnova after winning. In response, the representative of the aggressor country staged a circus, refusing to leave the track. She filed a protest against the result, which was rejected. Later, the Ukrainian was disqualified by the FIS under pressure from Russia.
It should be noted that the Russian representative meets the criteria of a neutral athlete, openly supporting the Russian Armed Forces. In an interview with OBOZREVATEL, Olga Harlan admitted how she reacted to her disqualification from the World Championships after refusing to shake hands with a Russian woman.
As OBOZREVATEL previously reported, the president of the Russian Fencing Federation (RFF), Ilgar Mamedov, said he was afraid of Russian athletes participating in competitions where Ukrainians are competing. And one of Olga Harlan's rivals, Russian Yana Yegoryan, spoke about her relationship with Ukrainian women with the words "everyone is tired of it."