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Ukraine Denies Athletes Leaving Sochi Amid Kiev Violence

21 February 2014 15:46
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Ukraine Denies Athletes Leaving Sochi Amid Kiev Violence

SOCHI. KAZINFORM - There has been no exodus of Ukrainian athletes from the Sochi Winter Olympics in response to the violence in Kiev that last left at least 28 people dead, the country's Olympic Committee told R-Sport Thursday.

It denied media reports that some athletes have quit Sochi in protest at the conflict between police and anti-government demonstrators.

"It's not true," an Olympic committee spokeswoman said. "The whole team is in Sochi and preparing for competitions.

"One girl has withdrawn from her competition, that's true, but no one has left the athletes' village. To be more precise, if someone has left, then that's only because the competitions for them have finished, so it was scheduled."

The only Ukrainian athlete confirmed to have pulled out of a competition in protest is Alpine skier Bogdana Matsotska, whose father and coach Oleg said on Facebook that she would not compete in Saturday's slalom event. The boycott was "a gesture of solidarity with the fighters on the barricades of the Maidan, against thuggish actions against those taking part in the protests and the irresponsibility of the president," Oleg Matsotskiy said.

The Ukrainian Olympic Committee has said it organized a minute's silence for its athletes in one of the Olympic villages in Sochi in response to the bloodshed. In a possible sign of protest by athletes, pictures posted online appear to show Ukrainian flags in the Olympic village with black bands attached. Plans from some Ukrainian athletes to wear black armbands in competition were scrapped Wednesday after talks with the International Olympic Committee, which bans political gestures at the Games, Kazinform refers to RIA Novosti.

Ukraine's government confirmed Thursday that there had been at least 28 fatalities in the violence that erupted in capital this week as police attempted to clear a protest camp of the Euromaidan movement.
The opposition camp sprung up in November after President Viktor Yanukovych refused to sign an agreement with the European Union and opted instead for closer trade links with Russia.


Keywords: Sport, Ukraine ,
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