Connect with us

Olympics

IOC invites Ukraine’s Kharlan to Olympics after disqualification

Published

on

Fencing - Women's Individual Sabre - Last 32 - Makuhari Messe Hall B - Chiba, Japan - July 26, 2021. Olga Kharlan of Ukraine reacts after competing REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/File Photo

Ukraine’s Olga Kharlan was invited to compete at the Olympic Games in Paris next year by the IOC on Friday after the fencer was disqualified for refusing to shake hands with a Russian opponent during a tournament earlier this week.

A letter sent to Kharlan signed by International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said she would be granted an additional quota place at the Olympics if she was unable to qualify in the remaining period.

“Rest assured the IOC will continue to stand in full solidarity with the Ukrainian athletes and the Olympic community of Ukraine during these extremely difficult times,” it added.

Kharlan, a four-time Olympic medallist and world champion, won her individual sabre bout 15-7 and then refused to shake hands with Russian Anna Smirnova – competing as a neutral – at the World Championships in Milan on Thursday.

In fencing’s rules, shaking an opponent’s hand is mandatory and failure to do so results in a ‘black card’.

Advertisement

Ukraine’s Youth and Sports minister Vadym Huttsait approved of the IOC decision in a post on Facebook.

“Despite all the hate that my team and I have endured over the past 24 hours, after working persistently for the benefit of Ukrainian athletes and not responding to this, we now have our first result,” he said.

“Work is continuing to rescind the “black card” for Olha’s future competitions and to prevent similar situations in other sports.”

The Ukrainian Fencing Federation (NFFU) also backed Kharlan.

Ukrainian athletes in other sports – including tennis players Elina Svitolina and Marta Kostyuk – have also refused to shake hands with Russian and Belarusian opponents following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with Moscow using Belarus as a staging ground for what it calls a “special military operation”.

Advertisement

The IOC said earlier on Friday that international federations should handle situations involving Ukrainian and neutral athletes with sensitivity.

RULES RELAXED

Kharlan represented Ukraine in the fencing tournament after the country’s sports ministry relaxed its rules over national sports teams competing in Olympic, non-Olympic and Paralympic events with competitors from Russia and Belarus.

“The decision taken by the Ukraine sports ministry will allow Ukrainian athletes to participate in international competitions and will enable them to qualify for the Olympic Games Paris 2024,” the IOC told Reuters on Friday.

“We are glad that they will be given this opportunity, and at the same time, we are aware of the difficult inner conflicts they may have, given the aggression against their country.

“Therefore, we encourage International Federations to handle situations involving Ukrainian and Individual Neutral Athletes with the necessary degree of sensitivity.

Advertisement

“We continue to stand in full solidarity with the Ukrainian athletes and the Olympic community of Ukraine.”

The NFFU has appealed against Kharlan’s disqualification.

“(The NFFU) filed a protest to the Bureau of the FIE against the decision of the Directoire Technique of the competition regarding the disqualification,” the NFFU said in a statement on Friday.

“The issue of “lack of respect”, which became the basis for the complaint, lies exclusively in the competence of the Referee… who did not record any violations in the actions of the Ukrainian fencer at the time the bout had ended.

“More importantly, this matter does not fall within the jurisdiction of Directoire Technique under FIE regulations.”

Advertisement

Kharlan said she stood by her decision not to shake hands with Smirnova.

“Today is kind of better because (of) all the support that I have… Everything that was going on, I think is a huge message for the people,” Kharlan told Reuters on Friday.

“Rules must be changed… for Ukrainians because you have to understand we still have war, and during this war… we just can’t… do handshakes, and you have to change, and you have to have some respect for us.

“When I have a choice… where I shake hands I will never shake hands with her. I’m sorry but there is something bigger than Olympic Games or license or fencing and finally I understood that, there is something more. The support for the Ukrainian people it’s incredible.”

Reporting by Tommy Lund and Aadi Nair; additional reporting by Claudia Greco and Ronald Popeski, writing by Pearl Josephine Nazare in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge and Ken Ferris

Advertisement

-Reuters

 

 

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Olympics

Djokovic confirmed for Paris Olympics

Published

on

French Open - Roland Garros, Paris, France - June 3, 2024 Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates after winning his fourth round match against Argentina's Francisco Cerundolo REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo

Novak Djokovic will compete at this year’s Olympic Games in Paris, the Olympic Committee of Serbia has announced.

The 24-times Grand Slam winner will be attending his fifth Olympics since his first in 2008 when he won a bronze medal.

The 37-year-old had knee surgery last month after he was forced to pull out of the French Open with an injury sustained in a fourth-round win that cast doubt over his chances of playing at Wimbledon and at the Paris Games.

World number three Djokovic will look to end his title drought in 2024 after winning three out of the four Grand Slams last year as he chases an elusive Olympic gold medal at the Paris Games in which Spain’s Rafa Nadal will also compete.

Dusan Lajovic, ranked 56th, will also play for Serbia in the July 27-Aug. 4 Olympic tournament at Roland Garros.

Advertisement

-Reuters

Continue Reading

Olympics

Mbappe rules out playing at Paris Games after Real Madrid move

Published

on

Kylian Mbappe confirmed on Sunday he will not play for France’s Olympic team at the Paris Games as his new club Real Madrid are against the idea.

The 25-year-old said in March that he was keen on playing at his home Games but since the Olympic soccer tournament is not on FIFA’s calendar clubs are not obliged to release their players.

Mbappe was not included in a 25-man preliminary squad for the Olympics earlier this month, though head coach Thierry Henry left the door open.

“My club’s position was very clear, so from that moment on, I think I (knew) I won’t be taking part in the Games,” Mbappe told reporters ahead of Monday’s Group D match against Austria at Euro 2024.

“That’s just the way it is, and I understand that too. I’m joining a new team in September, so it’s not the best way to start an adventure.

Advertisement

“I’m going to wish this French team all the best. I’m going to watch every game. I hope they’ll win the gold medal.”

The men’s Olympic football competition begins on July 24, 10 days after the European Championships final, and ends on Aug. 9.

-Reuters

Continue Reading

Olympics

Messi says he won’t play for Argentina at Paris Games

Published

on

3fa9998f-messi.png

Lionel Messi said he will not be part of Argentina’s squad for the Paris Olympics as he is no longer at an age where he can play in every tournament.

The 36-year-old Inter Miami forward is currently preparing for Argentina’s Copa America title defence, which runs from June 20 to July 14 in the United States.

In February, under-23 manager Javier Mascherano said Messi, who won gold with Argentina at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, had an invitation to join the squad for Paris.

“I talked to Mascherano and the truth is we both understood the situation,” Messi told ESPN.

“It’s hard (to think about the Olympics right now) because we’re in Copa America. It would be two, three straight months of not being with the club, and more than anything I’m not at an age to be in everything.

Advertisement

“I have to choose carefully, and it would be too much to play two straight tournaments. I’ve been very lucky to play in the Olympics, of winning it together with (Mascherano).

“It was a wonderful experience on a football level. Olympics, U20, memories I’ll never forget.”

The men’s football tournament at the Olympics takes place in July and August. Teams are allowed three overage players in their squads.

-Reuters

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Most Viewed