Russia-Ukraine battle: Fencer Olga Kharlan ban lifted as she is handed Olympic spot

Ukraine's Olga Kharlan refuses to shake hands with Russian Anna Smirnova
Ukraine’s Olga Kharlan supplied her sabre when Russian Anna Smirnova approached for a handshake

Ukrainian fencer Olga Kharlan has been handed a spot within the Olympics and had her World Championships ban lifted following her refusal to shake palms with Russian Anna Smirnova.

She was disqualified after providing her sabre to faucet blades as an alternative of shaking palms following her 15-7 win in Milan.

Worldwide Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach wrote a letter to Kharlan saying the physique would “allocate a further quota place” to her if she couldn’t qualify due to her “distinctive scenario”.

In the meantime, the Worldwide Fencing Federation reinstated Kharlan on the championships, which is able to enable her to participate within the staff competitors.

Earlier than the 2 bulletins, Kharlan stated: “Right this moment is sort of higher due to all of the assist that I’ve.

“Guidelines should be modified. For Ukrainians, throughout this struggle we simply cannot do handshakes, and it’s important to change, and it’s important to have some respect for us.

“When I’ve a alternative… the place I shake palms I’ll by no means shake palms along with her. I am sorry however there’s something greater than Olympic Video games or license or fencing and eventually I understood that, there’s something extra. The assist for the Ukrainian individuals, it is unimaginable.”

Earlier than the IOC’s resolution, the president of Russia’s Olympic Committee stated the physique had “picked a aspect” within the Russia-Ukraine dispute.

That was as a result of the IOC had responded to Kharlan’s preliminary suspension by encouraging sports activities federations to deal with Ukrainian athletes with sensitivity.

However Stanislav Pozdnyakov stated the IOC recommendation “clearly confirmed duplicity”.

“The assertion in query signifies that the IOC decided for itself and picked a aspect within the political battle, [and] started to behave within the pursuits of this aspect,” he stated on Telegram.

After Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the IOC imposed sporting sanctions on Russia and its ally Belarus however earlier this yr really helpful that Russian and Belarusian athletes may compete as people underneath a impartial flag and with no anthem.

Kharlan turned the primary fencer to face a Russian or Belarusian because the invasion.

After the snub, Smirnova staged a 45-minute sit-down protest, leading to Kharlan, a four-time particular person world champion and four-time Olympic medallist, being proven a black card.

That dominated her out of the ladies’s sabre particular person occasion and it appeared she would miss the staff competitors as nicely earlier than the federation lifted her suspension.

She was competing on the World Championships after the Ukraine sports activities ministry reversed its resolution to not enable Ukrainian athletes to compete in qualifying occasions for the 2024 Olympics if Russians are participating.

“We’re glad that they are going to be given this chance, and on the similar time we’re conscious of the tough internal conflicts they could have, given the aggression towards their nation,” the IOC stated in a press release it reiterated after Pozdnyakov’s feedback.

“Due to this fact, we encourage worldwide federations to deal with conditions involving Ukrainian and particular person impartial athletes with the mandatory diploma of sensitivity.

“We proceed to face in full solidarity with the Ukrainian athletes and the Olympic neighborhood of Ukraine.”

Kharlan, 32, adopted the instance of Ukrainian tennis gamers akin to Elina Svitolina by not shaking palms with Russian or Belarusian opponents, however Worldwide Fencing Federation (FIE) guidelines state that fencers should shake palms.

She claimed that FIE president Emmanuel Katsiadakis had assured her that it was “potential” to not shake palms and provide a contact of her blade as an alternative.

“I assumed I had his phrase, to be secure, however apparently, no,” Kharlan added.