A Russian gymnast is to be investigated after displaying a symbol of support for the invasion of Ukraine during an event.
The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) said it will open disciplinary proceedings against Ivan Kuliak for his “shocking behaviour” after he finished third in the parallel bars final at the Apparatus World Cup in Doha over the weekend.
A Russian athlete stood on the podium with a symbol of the invasion of Ukraine, at the Artistic Gymnastics World Cup
Russian gymnast Ivan Kuliak finished third on parallel bars and appeared on the podium with a “Z”. Next to him was the winner – the Ukrainian Illia Kovtun. pic.twitter.com/SXTRPFVNGs
– Apolitical 🇺🇦 (@ApoliticalX) March 6, 2022
The 20-year-old wore the letter “Z” on the front of his outfit as he stood on the podium next to Ukrainian rival Illia Kovtun, who won the gold.
Russian forces have used the letter Z as an identifying symbol on their vehicles in Ukraine following Moscow’s invasion of its neighbour.
Some supporters of the invasion have also been displaying the symbol.
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FIG adopted ‘further measures’ against Russia
The FIG said in a statement: “The International Gymnastics Federation confirms that it will ask the Gymnastics Ethics Foundation to open disciplinary proceedings against Kuliak following his shocking behavior at the Apparatus World Cup.
“The FIG adopted further measures against Russia and Belarus on 4 March.
“From 7 March, 2022, Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials, including judges, are not allowed to take part in FIG competitions or FIG-sanctioned competitions.”
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The FIG has already canceled all of its events in Russia and Belarus adding that it would not allocate other events to the two countries until further notice.
Belarus has been a key staging area for Russian forces.
Russia has been calling its actions in Ukraine a “special operation” designed not to occupy territory but to destroy its neighbour’s military capabilities and capture what it regards as dangerous nationalists.