Athletics - After Sochi, gay sports event faces high hurdles in Russia

Days after the closing of the Sochi Winter Olympics, a gay sports organisation's plan to hold Russia's first open Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender athletic competition was under threat from bureaucratic barriers it said stemmed from discrimination.

Reuters
Athletics - After Sochi, gay sports event faces high hurdles in Russia
.

View photo

Russia to enforce ban on gay protests during Olympics

The Russian Open games were scheduled to start on Wednesday in Moscow, but organisers were scrambling for alternatives after three venues and a hotel told them a day earlier that they would no longer be able to host the event.

A news conference called to address the issues was held outside after police informed organisers they had received a bomb threat and would not allow people to enter the gay club where it was due to have taken place.

"Our political leaders say there is no discrimination, but it is obviously discrimination when they stop us from having a sporting event," said Elvina Yuvakayeva, an organiser of the event.

Under fire before the Feb. 7-23 Sochi Winter Olympics over a law he signed last year that critics said discriminated against gays and could encourage hate crimes, President Vladimir Putin said Russia does not discriminate.

The Russian LGBT Sport Federation was informed of the cancellations by telephone in the space of a few hours on Tuesday, she said. She said the reasons given by the hotel and venues were diverse.

Alexey Fonyatin, director of the Alant-Golyanovo sport complex where the volleyball competition was supposed to take place, said there had been a conflict with an event organised by the city.

A representative of the Baikal Hotel, where some participants were to stay, said no rooms would be available because a group of children had been unable to check out.

Konstantin Yablotsky, president of the Russian LGBT Sport Federation, said sports should help people "find understanding".

"The aim of these games is to send a positive message to our society and authorities that we are normal people ... and ready for positive and constructive dialogue with society and with the authorities," he said.

Among the foreigners who came for the games was American diver Greg Louganis, an Olympic champion who is openly gay.

Organisers said there were other venues that might still be used, but it was not clear whether the games would go ahead.

"Society should understand we are a part of it. We are not marginalized," said Mikhail Tumasov of the Russian LGBT Network. "We are citizens, we play taxes we want rights and respect."

View comments (1)
  • The 9 at 9: Wednesday

    The 9 at 9: Wednesday

    Here’s all the news you need to know about this morning. More »

    TheJournal.ie - 28 minutes ago
  • Strictly Come Dancing 2016: Odds Reveal Early Favourite To Win The Series

    Strictly Come Dancing 2016: Odds Reveal Early Favourite To Win The Series

    The complete Strictly Come Dancing celebrity line-up has now been revealed and there’s already a hot favourite contender to triumph and lift the Glitterball trophy at the end of the 2016 series. Jet setting from Rio to Blackpool, Olympic gymnast Claudia Fragapane – who already excels on the floor and vault – is set to shine on the BBC ballroom, with bookmakers BoyleSports giving her odds of 9/4 as early favourite to win. The 18-year-old world medalist is closely followed by popstar Will Young and Hollyoaks hunk Danny Mac at 4/1. More »

    feed_manager_auto_publish_494--autopubtest_WPTUMBLR_485 - 39 minutes ago
  • Olympic flag arrives in Tokyo, governor calls for unity

    Olympic flag arrives in Tokyo, governor calls for unity

    Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike brought the Olympic flag to Japan from Brazil on Wednesday and called for all parties to work together to host a successful Summer Games in 2020. Koike, who was elected last month after two predecessors stepped down over scandals that clouded the city's Games preparations, was given the flag at the Rio Games closing ceremony on Sunday. "Let's work together with everyone to hold a great Olympics and Paralymics as the Olympic flag, which just arrived, is a symbol of," she told reporters after waving the flag upon stepping off the flight at Haneda airport. More »

    Reuters - 55 minutes ago
  • Olympics-Olympic flag arrives in Tokyo, governor calls for unity

    Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike brought the Olympic flag to Japan from Brazil on Wednesday and called for all parties to work together to host a successful Summer Games in 2020. Koike, who was elected last month after two predecessors stepped down over scandals that clouded the city's Games preparations, was given the flag at the Rio Games closing ceremony on Sunday. "Let's work together with everyone to hold a great Olympics and Paralymics as the Olympic flag, which just arrived, is a symbol of," she told reporters after waving the flag upon stepping off the flight at Haneda airport. More »

    Reuters - 58 minutes ago
  • Andy Murray seeded second at US Open behind defending champion Novak Djokovic

    Andy Murray seeded second at US Open behind defending champion Novak Djokovic

    British tennis star Andy Murray has been seeded second in the men's singles for the US Open. The 29-year-old current world number two is the second-highest rated seed for the tournament at Flushing Meadows, where defending champion Novak Djokovic has been installed as the number one seed. More »

    International Business Times - 1 hour 40 minutes ago