The International Gymnastics Federation condemned the 20-year-old for his “shocking behavior” at the Gymnastics World Cup in Doha, Qatar, last weekend.
The ‘Z’ badge was displayed on tanks and vehicles used by the Russian Army in its operations in Ukraine, and has since become a symbol in support of the invasion of Ukraine.
Propaganda videos on social media appear to show supporters of Russian President Vladimir Putin wearing “Z” clothes, waving Russian flags and chanting pro-Russia slogans.
“If there was a second chance and I had to choose again whether or not to come out with the letter ‘Z’ on my chest, I would do exactly the same,” Kulyak was quoted by Russia-controlled media. Russia Today.
“I saw it with our army and looked at what this symbol means. It turns out [it means]”for victory” and “for peace”.
“I did not wish anything bad to anyone, I showed my position. As an athlete, I will always fight for victory and defend peace.”
After receiving expressions of support from the head of the governing body for his sport in Russia, the Russian Federation of Artistic Gymnastics (FSGR), Vasily Titov, Kulyak said he was upset with the Ukrainian athletes when they raised their national flag at the event in Doha. .
The International Football Association Board (FIG) confirmed in a statement that it will ask the Foundation for Ethics in Gymnastics (GEF) to open disciplinary proceedings against Kolyak. The GEF told CNN that it could not comment on pending or potential cases as a matter of procedure.
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