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2 Aug, 2021 11:39

Gender reassignment and same-sex marriages ‘destroy civilization’ and ‘lead world in wrong direction’, says Russian handball boss

Gender reassignment and same-sex marriages ‘destroy civilization’ and ‘lead world in wrong direction’, says Russian handball boss

Transgender athletes "cannot be allowed to compete" against athletes of the gender they transition to, the boss of the Russian Handball Federation has insisted ahead of Laurel Hubbard's history-making Olympic Games appearance.

Controversial weightlifter Hubbard is due to make her first appearance in the women's super-heavyweight category in Tokyo on Monday, having been born as a man, Gavin, and changed her gender as an adult.

While fans, sportspeople and high-profile figures have offered a mixed response to Hubbard's move, Sergei Shishkarev, the head of the Russian Handball Federation (FGR), is unequivocal in his views on the issue and what he perceives as the wider ramifications for society.

"I am categorically against the application of the transgender principle in sports," said Shishkarev, vowing to RIA Novosti to oppose transgender athletes appearing in his sport.

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"A person who has changed sex cannot be entered to compete in the gender that he has become. This can kill not only professional sports, but also a normal life in general.

"I do not hide the fact that I am a categorical opponent of everything that is happening in that regard, both with gender reassignment and same-sex marriages.

"I believe that this destroys civilization, humanism on the planet and leads the world in the wrong direction. I will be open, honest and straightforward, oppose these things and I will do everything so that it does not appear in handball."

Evgeny Trefilov, the vice-president of the federation, admitted that he had thought he was watching men during the women's shot put competition, but added that he did not expect the involvement of transgender athletes to become commonplace.

Also on rt.com Olympic official praises ‘courage & tenacity’ of transgender Kiwi weightlifter Hubbard before controversial Tokyo appearance

"A transgender performance... I do not believe that this is coming," he said. "Normal people who sometimes think with their heads will not go in this direction."

On the court, Shishkarev warned he would have a "serious" conversation with Alexei Alekseev after the head coach changed all of his players in their final group match against Spain, preceding a momentum swing that saw the Russian side go from 16-10 up to two points behind before eventually prevailing 34-31.

“The coach today divided the team into first grade and second grade," argued Shishkarev, who is clearly unimpressed. "People have lost confidence. After all, the six who came on as substitutes are in no way inferior to the others.

“Remember how I joked after [the 24-24 draw with] Brazil that we lost [the lead] on purpose, because we were sure of victory? Today, what was said half-jokingly can be repeated.

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"To replace six people at once... colleagues here tell me that it happened by accident. Explain how something can happen to the head coach by accident?"

Trefilov claimed that Alekseev had acted "correctly" because the team had won, and Shishkarev said the prospect of replacing Alekseev with Trefilov was "impossible".

"There can be no speculation," he added, discussing the idea of Alekseev departing during the tournament. "It is physically and technically impossible.

"We do not have such a plan B. I hope that Alekseev and his team will... bring the team to the logical end, which we all expect."

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