West News Wire: Ivan Kuliak, a Russian gymnast, wore a ‘Z’ attached to his vest at a World Cup medal presentation. In Doha, the 20-year-old newcomer earned bronze in the parallel bars category. Kuliak appears to have taped the letter to the front of his vest, which is one of the emblems on Russian military equipment.
Next to Kuliak were gold medallist Ilya Kovtun of Ukraine and silver medalist Milad Karimi of Kazakhstan.
As a result of the International Gymnastics Federation’s (FIG) sanctions issued during the invasion of Ukraine, Russian athletes are compete in the World Cup under a neutral status.
Russian competitors, like their Belarusian counterparts, will be unable to compete in FIG events beginning Monday.
Kaluga-born Kuliak became the Russian Junior all-around and floor champion in 2019.
The prospect has won a string of gold medals among a haul of honors at competitions in his homeland.
His third-placed finish in Qatar marked a successful start to his 2022 campaign in his first competition of the year.
In a statement on Friday, FIG confirmed that Russian and Belarusian athletes will not take part in the Acrobatic Gymnastics World Championships in Baku from March 10-13 2022.
The federation said the “exceptional and emergency measures” had been taken “in view of extraordinary circumstances.”
“They constitute preventive measures aiming at preserving the integrity of gymnastics, the safety and integrity of members and all athletes and participants, and at fighting against all forms of violence and of sports injustice,” it added.