Kharlan almost suffered nervous breakdown after odious Fencing World Championship DQ

1 August, 07:17 PM
Olha Kharlan (Photo:Facebook)

Olha Kharlan (Photo:Facebook)

After the referee correctly gave her the win after a dominating performance against Russia’s Anna Smirnova, the FIE decided to disqualify the six-time world champion for not shaking hands with her opponent.

Kharlan instead offered to “clash swords”, an appropriate sign of respect that had been recognized by the FIE until the night before Kharlan’s match.

Video of day

“I sobbed and screamed. That’s what I did,” Kharlan told Suspilne in an interview.

“My team was sitting next to me; the epee girls were sitting next to me. People could not enter the ‘box’ because such things were happening there. I was hysterical, on the verge of a nervous breakdown, I think. It was such an injustice that it just broke my heart.”

“I had – and still have – such anger for what they do. They do not show the Russian side of people at all. How they act in sports proves that they are not human. It doesn’t matter in what field they do it. They are inhumane in war, how they torture and kill. They shoot their rockets and so on. It’s the same here, there are no exceptions at all.”

The FIE’s decision to disqualify one of the sport’s most marketable athletes caused the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to intervene.

IOC President Thomas Bach awarded Kharlan with automatic Olympic qualification and implicitly chastised the FIE for not being “sensitive” to Ukrainian athletes.

Kharlan earlier told Tribuna what she said to Smirnova after winning the scandalous match.

“I told her that I would not shake her hand. That’s all I said. I said, ‘I’m not going to shake your hand.”

The Ukrainian Fencing Federation later demanded that Smirnova be stripped of her neutral status because of her activity on Instagram, where she openly demonstrates support for the Russian army.

Will you support Ukraine’s free press?

Dear reader, as all news organizations, we must balance the pressures of delivering timely, accurate, and relevant stories with requirements to fund our business operations.

As a Ukrainian-based media, we also have another responsibility – to amplify Ukraine’s voice to the world during the crucial moment of its existence as a political nation.

It’s the support of our readers that lets us continue doing our job. We keep our essential reporting free because we believe in our ultimate purpose: an independent, democratic Ukraine.

If you’re willing to support Ukraine, consider subscribing to our Patreon starting from 5$ per month. We are immensely grateful.

Please help us continue fighting Russian propaganda.

Truth can be hard to tell from fiction these days. Every viewpoint has its audience of backers and supporters, no matter how absurd.

If conscious disinformation is reinforced by state propaganda apparatus and budget, its outcomes may become deadly.

There is no solution to this, other than independent, honest, and accurate reporting.

We remain committed to empowering the Ukrainian voice to push against the muck. If you’re willing to stand up for the truth – consider supporting us on Patreon starting from 5$ per month. Thank you very much.

Will you help tell Ukraine’s story to the world?

Twenty years ago, most people hadn’t even heard of Ukraine. Today, the country is on everyone’s lips and everyone’s headlines. War pushed us on the front page. But there are many other things we do that we are proud of – from music and culture to technology.

We need your help to tell the world Ukrainian story of resilience, joy, and survival. If you’re willing to back our effort, consider supporting us on Patreon starting from 5$ per month. We are immensely grateful.

Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google News

Ukraine Today
Fresh daily newsletter covering the top headlines and developments in Ukraine
Daily at 9am EST
Show more news