World Fencing Championships: Ukraine’s Olga Kharlan disqualified for refusing Russian Anna Smirnov’s handshake

Ukrainian fencer Olga Kharlan has been disqualified for refusing to shake hands with Russian Anna Smirnova at the World Fencing Championships.

Kharlan, the first fencer to face a Russian or Belarusian since the former’s full-scale invasion of her homeland, won 15-7 in Milan.

The 32-year-old rejected Smirnova’s handshake afterwards, instead offering her sabre to tap blades.

It led to an appeal from Smirnova, who staged a 45-minute sit-down protest.

Svitolina has refused to shake hands with Russian and Belarusian opponents and said Kharlan’s decision was “the right thing to do for our people”.






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