Ukrainian fencer Olga Kharlan was disqualified from the World Fencing Championships in Milan for not “showing respect” to a Russian fencer after defeating her in the game, Suspilne reports.
On 27 July, Kharlan won the match against Russian fencer Anna Smirnova (15:7), who was competing under a neutral flag. After the fight, Smirnova put out her hand, but Kharlan refused and offered to touch sabers instead. Smirnova didn’t respond, and Kharlan left the track.
Russia fencer Smirnova lodged a protest against Kharlan for lack of “showing respect” and stayed on the track for more than 50 minutes after the match.
According to the rules of the International Fencing Federation, the lack of “showing respect” has to be punished by a black card (disqualification from the tournament).
Harlan, defeating the Russian fencer, advanced to the next round and was supposed to meet Bulgarian fencer Yoana Ilieva. However, the fight did not take place. The live scoreboard indicated that Ilieva advanced to the next round automatically.
As per Suspilne, Ukraine will appeal against Olga Harlan’s disqualification from the World Fencing Championships.
“We support Olga Harlan in this situation. I am currently at the World Cup, we are preparing a protest, and we will appeal this decision. After all, the referee who was directly working this match did not give a black card and did not disqualify her. The “undercover games” began later [it was decided later]. This disqualification came after the next opponent [Olga Harlan] had been determined, and a judge was even appointed for the next fight,” President of the Ukrainian Fencing Federation, Mykhaylo Ilyashev, said.
Olga Kharlan won 13 World Cup gold medals, four World Championship gold medals, and two Olympic bronzes. She was born in Mykolaiv, which is now a frequent target of Russian attacks.