Fencing Worlds: Ukrainian disqualified after fight against Russian

Thursday July 27, during the World Fencing Championships in Milan (Italy), theUkrainian Olga Kharlan won her duel against Anna Smirnova. But when her Russian opponent stepped towards her, the four-time world champion refused to shake her hand. Anna Smirnova then protested, remaining seated in a chair near the track for more than ten minutes. The jury finally disqualified the Ukrainian for non-compliance with the rules.

A symbolic encounter

The Ukrainian federation judges this decision “scandalous”. The meeting was, however, symbolic. Olga Kharlan is the first fencer from her country to face a Russian since Moscow invaded Ukraine. With the agreement of kyiv, she had accepted this sporting confrontation, Anna Smirnova participating as a neutral individual athlete. The International Olympic Committee calls for sensitivity with Ukrainian athletes.

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