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Rediff.com  » Sports » Isinbayeva stirs up a storm over support to Russia's anti-gay law

Isinbayeva stirs up a storm over support to Russia's anti-gay law

August 16, 2013 11:12 IST

Isinbayeva stirs up a storm over support to Russia's anti-gay law

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Russia’s much loved polt-vault queen, Yelena Isinbayeva has over the last decade or so remained in the headlines because of her ace showing on the track.

But now Isinbayeva is hogging the limelight for more than just her pole vaulting.

Isinbayeva has lent her support, rather controversially, to the new anti-gay propaganda law in her native Russia and has now received flak for her stand from fellow athletes.

On Thursday, the world champion condemned Swedish high jumper Emma Green-Tregaro for painting rainbows on her nails in support of gay rights.

She later made a statement making her opinion, regarding the law, clear.

"We consider ourselves, like normal, standard people, we just live boys with women, girls with boys ... it comes from the history," she said in an interview in English after describing Green-Tregaro as disrespectful.

"I hope the problem won't ruin our Olympic Games in Sochi," she added, in the wake of some calls for a boycott of next year's winter Olympics.


Image: Elena Isinbaeva of Russia attends the IAAF Ambassador Programme Press Conference on Thursday
Photographs: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

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'It blows my mind that a young, so well-educated woman can be so behind the times'

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American 800m silver medallist Nick Symmonds responded by telling BBC Radio 5-Live: "It blows my mind that a young, so well-educated woman can be so behind the times.

"Guess what Yelena -- a large portion of your citizenship are normal, standard homosexuals," added Symmonds, who said he wanted to compete with a rainbow sticker but was told he could potentially face jail if he did.

According to BBC, Isinbayeva also defended a Russian law, which makes it illegal to promote homosexuality to under-18s.


Image: Nick Symmonds of the United States
Photographs: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

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Calls to revise Isinbeyava's position as ambassador for the Youth Olympics

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Isinbeya was in for more criticism when Commonwealth Games gold medallist Louise Hazel said that the Russian should be removed from her role as ambassador for the Youth Olympics for her anti-gay comments.

Britain's Hazel expressed that IOC's first point of call after the World Championships are over should be to revise her position as an ambassador, adding that Isinbayeva's views caused her deep shock and disappointment.

Isinbayeva was appointed as an ambassador, for the Youth Olympics in 2010 by the IOC President, Jacques Rogge.


Image: Heptathathlete Louise Hazel of Great Britain
Photographs: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

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