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Ukraine fencer Olga Kharlan assured of Olympic spot after penalty for Russian handshake snub | World Information

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A Ukrainian fencer has been assured by the Olympic authorities she will compete at subsequent yr’s Paris video games after she was disqualified from a key rating occasion for refusing to shake fingers with a Russian she had crushed.

Olga Kharlan was informed by the worldwide organising physique it might make a “distinctive exception” by allocating her a spot within the competitors.

The transfer follows controversy over the 32-year-old’s elimination on the world championships in Milan

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Kharlan left with out shaking the hand of her opponent. Pic: AP

The incident between a four-time Olympic medallist and her Russian opponent – Anna Smirnova, who was competing as an authorised impartial athlete – additionally forged doubt on hopes for athletes from the 2 nations to compete towards one another towards the backdrop of the Ukraine battle triggered by Moscow’s invasion.

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Kharlan comfortably beat Smirnova 15-7 in a first-round contest then refused a handshake, and as a substitute pointed her sabre towards the Russian.

Touching blades was used as a substitute for handshakes at fencing competitions in the course of the coronavirus pandemic however Smirnova stood dealing with Kharlan and didn’t elevate her sabre.

Kharlan then turned and left the world and the Russian refused to go away for greater than 50 minutes, sitting on a chair in an obvious protest over the snub.

Kharlan was later disqualified by the Worldwide Fencing Federation (FIE), which denied her the possibility to earn extra rating factors that feed into Olympic qualification.

Russia's Anna Smirnova remains seated after her bout with Ukraine's Olga Kharlan in the women's individual sabre best of 64 round match at the World Fencing Championship in Milan, Italy, Thursday, July 27, 2023. Olympic champion Kharlan competed against officially-neutral Russian opponent Smirnova at the world fencing championships, an Olympic qualifier, on Thursday in Milan, Italy, winning their bout 15-7. However, Smirnova refused to leave after the bout in an apparent protest because Kharlan refused to shake hands at the end. (Tibor Illye/MTI via AP)
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Smirnova refused to go away after the bout in an obvious protest. Pic: AP

In response, the Worldwide Olympic Committee (IOC) stated sports activities our bodies ought to present “sensitivity” on points involving Ukrainians and impartial athletes from Russia – an obvious suggestion that the federation made an error.

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In a letter to Kharlan, IOC president Thomas Bach acknowledged the “curler coaster of feelings and emotions” she should have.

Ukraine's Olga Kharlan wears her fencing mask during the women's Team Sabre against Uzbekistan, at the Fencing World Championships in Milan, Italy, Saturday, July 29, 2023. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
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The 32-year-old is a four-time Olympic medallist. Pic: AP

Bach, who like Kharlan is a former Olympic champion in a fencing crew occasion, added: “It’s admirable how you might be managing this extremely troublesome scenario.”

The FIE subsequently softened its stance, saying it might permit Kharlan to compete for Ukraine within the upcoming crew sabre occasion, however nonetheless defended the choice to punish her.

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Kharlan had confronted a suspension from the remainder of the world championships and from different occasions.

Nevertheless, the FIE assertion made no point out of permitting Ukrainians to keep away from handshakes with Russian opponents in future, which may imply extra disputes forward of the Olympics.

Insisting it was proper to punish Kharlan, it stated: “The FIE stands totally behind the penalty, which, after a radical overview, is in full accordance and compliance with its official guidelines and related penalties.”



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