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Ukrainian fencer Kharlan says Russians threatened her with death after she refused to shake hand of her Russian competitor

Olha Kharlan during interview at the Football Hub
Ukrainian fencer Kharlan says Russians threatened her with death after she refused to shake hand of her Russian competitor

Ukrainian fencer Olha Kharlan says she received calls and messages from Russians who threatened her, even wished her to die, after she refused to shake hand of her Russian competitor Anna Smirnova at the World Championship. She spoke about this in her interview with Football Hub.

The threats reached me,” she said. That country is half the size of the planet but there are very few normal people. I can’t say that I expected these [threats]. There were some messages where photos of dead fighters were sent to me. And then I started to get really worried because I don’t want to see it. There were messages like “die” or something. They tried to call.Many times, from different numbers from different countries.

Kharlan says it was hard to ignore such threats since 95% of all messages were positive and from Ukrainian. She reads them, although she can’t answer them all.

“I read them. And then “die.” Ok, I understand. Or “you didn’t shake hand of your master” and so on.”

As was reported, Ukrainian fencer Harlan was disqualified from the World Fencing Championships for not “showing respect” (shaking hands) to a Russian fencer Smirnova after defeating her. Smirnova lodged a protest against, staying on the track for over 50 min.

Ukraine protested the decision. Consequently, the the International Fencing Federation decided fencers can resume distanced greetings instead of shaking hands, after an incident pitting Ukrainian Olga Kharlan against a Russian foe created an uproar. Subsequently, Kharlan was allowed to participate in the 2024 Olympic Games.

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