Ukrainian epee fencers were banned from taking pictures with the “Angels of Sports” banner at the World Cup in China (video)

The epee women of the Ukrainian national team wanted to be photographed with a banner that indicated how many Ukrainian athletes were killed by the Russian Federation.

Vlad Kharkova / photo #BizziTeam / FIE

The organizers of the Fencing World Cup in the Chinese city of Nanjing blocked the attempts of the representatives of the Ukrainian team to highlight the crimes of Russia in the war against Ukraine.

This became known from a message published on the page of the European fencing champion Vlada Kharkova on Instagram.

The protest of Ukrainian athletes was caused by the decision of the International Fencing Federation (FIE) to return athletes from Russia and Belarus to competitions. The decision was taken at an extraordinary FIE congress in March.

Ukrainian athletes decided to express their disagreement with the decision of the FIE by unfurling the “Angels of Sports” banner, which indicated Russian crimes in Ukraine. The banner also contained information about the number of Ukrainian athletes who have died as a result of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, which has been going on for more than a year and is supported by Belarus.

However, the organizers of the competition prevented the Ukrainian athletes from their intention.

In the video, you can see how the organizers are trying to take the banner from the Ukrainian athletes.

Member of the Ukrainian national fencing team Daria Varfolomeeva commented on the incident at the World Cup in China.

“You say that politics has no place in sports? Now let me ask you: how can you play sports when about 343 sports facilities have been destroyed and more than 250 athletes will never compete again?

Russia violates all Olympic values. The FIE is trying to hide the truth with threats and restrictions, trying to keep us silent, but how is this different from the Russian political strategy?” Varfolomeyeva NFFU quotes on Facebook.

The Ukrainian epee fencer also commented on the scandalous incident. Vlad Kharkova.

“The idea was that we would hang a banner in the stands to highlight the events in Ukraine, what Russia has done and is doing with our country and people. We were not allowed to do this.

Moreover, we had stickers on the masks that we did not agree with the decision of the FIE, which we also distributed to all athletes in solidarity with us. We were also asked to unstick it.

Before each fight, the judges carefully checked whether we did it. Guards were always near us too – they probably made sure that we did not arrange any actions.

Guards and organizers of competitions interfered. I’m not sure who gave the instructions to do this, but since the judge was so careful about what and where we glued, the logical conclusion is that the FIE gave them this order.

In principle, the video shows how it all ended. We rolled up the banner and went outraged into the room,” Vlada Kharkova was quoted as saying by Suspilne Sport.

Recall that the fencers of the Russian Federation and Belarus were suspended from international competitions in March 2022 due to the full-scale invasion of Russian troops into Ukraine. However, on March 10 of this year, the International Fencing Federation (FIE) allowed the Russians and Belarusians to return to tournaments in a neutral status.

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