The Worldwide Olympic Committee (IOC) has issued a particular invitation to a Ukrainian fencer to participate within the Paris Olympics subsequent 12 months, after she was disqualified from a event for refusing to shake arms together with her defeated Russian opponent.
The IOC president, Thomas Bach, a former Olympic champion fencer himself, wrote in particular person to Olha Kharlan to make a “distinctive exception” to Olympic qualifying procedures, in an unusually emotional letter.
“As a fellow fencer, it’s unattainable for me to think about how you’re feeling at this second,” Bach mentioned. “The warfare in opposition to your nation, the struggling of the folks in Ukraine … all this can be a curler coaster of feelings and emotions. It’s admirable how you’re managing this extremely troublesome state of affairs, and I want to specific my full assist for you.”
The letter was copied to the Ukrainian fencing federation, its nationwide Olympic committee and the Worldwide Fencing Federation, which had disqualified Kharlan from the world fencing championship in Milan on Thursday, after she had provided to the touch sabres however not shake arms with the Russian fencer she had crushed, Anna Smirnova. Smirnova staged a 50-minute protest on the fencing piste in protest on the snub.
Bach mentioned that with out the qualification factors from the world championships, Kharlan wouldn’t usually be capable to participate within the Paris Olympics.
“Given your distinctive state of affairs, the Worldwide Olympic Committee will allocate an extra quota place to you for the Olympic Video games Paris 2024, in case you won’t be able to qualify within the remaining interval,” Bach wrote. “We make this distinctive exception additionally as a result of the continued procedures will in no case make up for the qualification factors you missed due to your disqualification.”
The choice was welcomed by Ukraine’s overseas minister, Dmytro Kuleba, who had known as on the Worldwide Fencing Federation to reverse its resolution.
“Fact and dignity prevail once we all arise for them and battle as one,” Kuleba wrote on social media.