Russian artistic gymnast Ivan Kuliak is set to face disciplinary actions from the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) for showing support towards Russia in its invasion and the ongoing war against Ukraine by showing the “Z” symbol on the podium at a recent gymnastics event, which the governing body termed as a “shocking behaviour”.
Ivan Kuliak displayed the “Z” symbol on his shirt, used by the Russian military to identify their vehicles
The “Z” symbol have been used by the Russian military to identify their tanks vehicles subsequent to the invasion of their neighbors over the past few weeks. The letter, which does not exist in the Cyrillic Russian alphabet, has been used by those supporting Vladimir Putin and Russia invading Ukraine.
At the Apparatus World Cup in Doha which took place over the course of the last weekend, Ivan Kuliak clinched a third place finish at the in the parallel bars final. The Russian, banned by the FIG and unable to don his country’s flag displayed the symbol “Z” on the podium by donning the letter on his vest, standing next to his rival Illia Kovtun, the Ukrainian who bagged the gold.
In the wake of the controversial gesture by Ivan Kuliak, the FIG revealed in a statement that they will reach out to the Gymnastics Ethics Foundation to take disciplinary actions against the 20-year-old gymnast.
“The International Gymnastics Federation confirms that it will ask the Gymnastics Ethics Foundation to open disciplinary proceedings against … Kuliak following his shocking behaviour at the Apparatus World Cup,” the official statement from the FIG read.
The Federation, along with the World Curling Federation, had already put an indefinite ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials from taking part in FIG competitions as well as FIG-sanctioned competitions. The ban has come into effect from this Monday, deeming athletes from those two countries ineligible to compete in the upcoming Acrobatic Gymnastics World Championships, set to take place in Baku, Azerbaijan from 10th to 13th March.
“The FIG adopted further measures against Russia and Belarus on March 4. From March 7, 2022, Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials, including judges, are not allowed to take part in FIG competitions or FIG-sanctioned competitions,” the statement added. [H/T inews.co.uk]
- The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) has decided to take disciplinary actions against Russian gymnast Ivan Kuliak for displaying the Z symbol on his vest at the Apparatus World Cup in Doha
- The Z symbol is used by the Russian military to mark their tanks and vehicles in their ongoing war against Ukraine and have been used by many to symbolize their support