The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) has recommended that Russian gymnast Ivan Kulyak and two Russian national team coaches, Valentina Rodionenko and Igor Kalabushkin, be disqualified for a year.
Kulyak finished third in the World Cup, which was held in Doha in early March. Ilya Kovtun of Ukraine won the competition and wore a uniform representing the letter Z to the prize ceremony. according to RBUC.
Rodionenko admited that he has been approached about a possible disqualification.
“As the head of the delegation, the outgoing coach Kalabushkin and the athlete himself, I was offered to be disqualified for one year,” Rodionenko said.
The final decision on a one-year disqualification should be made by the disciplinary commission of the independent foundation of gymnastic ethics.
The athlete explained his behavior by saying he saw the letter Z in the Russian military and learned that it stands for “for victory” and “for peace.” “I did not wish anyone any harm with my actions. Just showed his position. As an athlete, I will always fight for victory and stand for peace. That’s all, “ he concluded.
According to him, the idea to put the letter Z on the uniform came when Russian athletes witnessed Ukrainian athletes’ behavior during tournaments. “They communicated with us ugly, their behavior at some point was unacceptable,” the gymnast claimed.
Russian military equipment engaging in a military operation in Ukraine is marked with the letters Z and V.