Gutzeit: Olympic Movement Charter says sport is out of politics
The participation of Ukrainian athletes in competitions on the territory of the Russian Federation is not funded from the state budget, but this is a personal matter for each athlete, said Minister of Youth and Sports Vadym Gutzeit.
"The charter of the Olympic movement says that sport is out of politics," Gutzeit said in an exclusive interview with Interfax-Ukraine.
When asked whether Ukrainian athletes should take part in competitions on the territory of Russia in order to effectively fight for medals in the world, the minister noted that, unfortunately, a large number of competitions are held in the Russian Federation.
"Many licensing competitions for the Olympics are held in the Russian Federation. If we had not gone there, then we would not have gone to the Olympics. Then there would have been fewer delegations, as a result, even fewer medals. What should we do? Close the sport? For example, Ihor Reizlin won the silver medal, but he probably would not have made it to the Olympic Games, if three months before they had not gone to the first and last licensed competitions this year, which were held in Kazan. Everyone would shout 'betrayal,' that there is even less medals," Gutzeit said.
At the same time, he stressed that the ministry does not finance the participation of athletes in competitions in Russia.
"They travel at the expense of the federations ... Athletes make such a decision for themselves, this is their own business," the minister added.
Among other things, Gutzeit said that the ministry held briefings with Ukrainian Olympians to prevent communication with Russian media or Russian athletes at the Tokyo Olympics.
"Yes, we talked. We have been talking about this for a long time. But one need to understand that when an athlete wins, how happy he is, what a surge of emotions he has. Therefore, such situations, unfortunately, happen," the minister said.
As reported, in 2018, former Minister of Youth and Sports of Ukraine Ihor Zhdanov signed an order banning the performance of Ukrainian athletes in any competitions held on the territory of the Russian Federation. This ban is still in effect today.
In 2016, Zhdanov said that the Ukrainian Olympians had been instructed to avoid communicating with the Russian media.
Ukrainian athlete Mahuchikh in high jump won a bronze medal at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. After that, she was photographed with an athlete from Russia Maria Lasitskene, who became a gold medalist. According to Gutzeit, Mahuchikh simply could not hold back her emotions when she was photographed with a Russian athlete.