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4 Sep, 2021 15:14

‘That’s his business’: Russian record-breaker reacts after Ukrainian reportedly snubs photo beside him on Paralympics podium again

‘That’s his business’: Russian record-breaker reacts after Ukrainian reportedly snubs photo beside him on Paralympics podium again

After winning another Paralympics final, double-gold Russian athlete Dmitry Safronov has said he shows his patriotism in gold medals after his Ukrainian rival reportedly refused to be photographed on the podium next to him again.

Silver medalist Ihor Tsvietov caused a storm after appearing to refuse to join champion Safronov and his compatriot, bronze medal winner Artyom Kalashyan, on the top tier of the podium following the T35 100m final in Tokyo on Monday.

In a repeat of that top three, Safronov won gold yet again in the 200m sprint for athletes with musculoskeletal disorders on Saturday, with Tsvietov taking second and Kalashyan coming in third.

Tsvietov again snubbed a photo opportunity with the Russian competitors, according to Tass.

"How did he react? That's his business," said Safronov, who was ecstatic after breaking his previous world record by 0.04 seconds with a new time of 23 seconds.

"[Patriotism] is calculated, but for me it is calculated in gold medals."

Tsvietov's apparent careful distancing has led many to believe that he is attempting to avoid a similar fate to Yaroslava Mahuchikh, the Ukrainian high jumper who was heavily censured for posing with Russian gold medalist Maria Lasitskene after finishing behind her at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

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Tsvietov claimed he had made the move out of respect for Russia, while a photo that has emerged this week, showing him happily posing between the Russian pair at an event in Poland in June, has increased speculation that he has been told not to stand with Russian athletes.

Politician and former Olympic sprint champion Svetlana Zhurova described Tsvietov's conduct as showing "disrespect for the Paralympic movement."

“Taking photographs is part of the procedure – the photographs go down in the history of games," she told Sport Express.

"It’s strange when an athlete behaves like that. This is not about his country, not about the attitude towards the athletes standing next to him.

"First of all, this is a question about the history of the Paralympic Games."

The Russian Paralympic Committee stood fourth in the overall rankings following Safronov and Kalashyan's triumph, with a total of 35 gold, 40 silver and 45 bronze medals.

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