World Championships in Milan: Ukrainian fencer refuses to shake hands with Russian opponent – ​​and is disqualified

The Ukrainian fencing athlete Olha Charlan refused to shake hands with the Russian Anna Smirnova at the Fencing World Championships in Milan and was therefore disqualified.

World Championships in Milan: Ukrainian fencer refuses to shake hands with Russian opponent – ​​and is disqualified

The Ukrainian fencing athlete Olha Charlan refused to shake hands with the Russian Anna Smirnova at the Fencing World Championships in Milan and was therefore disqualified. The four-time saber world champion from Ukraine clearly defeated Smirnova 15:7 in the round of 64. Charlan was the first Ukrainian athlete outside of tennis to compete against a Russian athlete since the start of the Ukraine war. The Ukrainian Ministry of Sport had only changed its regulations the day before.

The Ukrainian presidency called the athlete's disqualification "shameful". At the World Championships, fencers from Russia and Belarus are allowed to start in individual competitions as neutral athletes. The Ukrainian government had initially forbidden its athletes to compete against them. Since Wednesday, however, only fights against athletes "representing the Russian Federation or the Republic of Belarus" have been prohibited.

Charlan had announced in an AFP interview before the World Cup that he would refuse a handshake like in tennis. After Charlan's victory, the neutral fencer Smirnova held out her left hand to the Ukrainian. However, Charlan only shook his head briefly and held out his saber instead, as a video from Deutschlandfunk shows, among other things:

A good 20 members of the Ukrainian delegation supported Charlan, repeatedly shouting "Slava Ukrajini" ("Glory to Ukraine"). Smirnova then just stood there - until she was eventually handed a chair. The referee talked in vain to the Russian for a while, until she finally made room for the waiting fencers after three quarters of an hour. The ensuing battle began with a considerable delay.

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