President of the Russian Fencing Federation (FFR) Ilgar Mammadov told that most members of the International Fencing Federation (FIE) respected his speech at the organisation’s Congress in Lausanne, but other curious moments occurred during the encounter.
The FIE Congress took place last week in Switzerland. Greece’s Emmanuel Katsiadakis was approved by a majority of votes as the organization’s interim president, another decision was the extension of the suspension of Russian athletes from international competitions until March 2023.
— What did you say during your speech at the FIE Congress?
He gave an example from his own life. I moved from Baku to Moscow because I wanted to pursue my sports career. There was a war at home, so it was impossible to do it there. But I have never blamed athletes from any country for having suffered because of certain military actions. C’est la vie, never before have such conflicts been identified with sport. The president of the Armenian federation sat next to him, for 30 years there have been two conflicts with them, one of which was two years ago. But that doesn’t mean we have to hate each other – after all, we both come from the sports world, we do the same thing.
No one has ever accused American athletes of making a foreign policy move by their State Department or the White House that certainly did not contribute to peace. You can name all the countries yourself – these are Serbia, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya and Iraq. No one has ever urged American athletes to go to the White House to protest their government’s decision. What is the difference between American and Russian athletes? And how will the non-participation of Russian athletes help Ukrainians and their federation? But, of course, I realized that I was asking all these questions in vain.
Even Thomas Bach in his speeches repeats: “Give peace a chance”, that is, “Give peace a chance”. Which means that not only friendly countries should participate in the competition, but also countries that have some kind of conflict with each other. Show the whole world that through sport you can show normal civilized relations between countries by competing on fencing arenas, football fields or a boxing ring.
Did they try to interrupt you? Or has someone publicly ignored you?
– During the speech – no. But during the congress, a representative of the Swedish Fencing Federation rushed to the presidium, to the microphone. He argued that it was impossible to vote for an interim president, that Katsiadakis should be called a full president, that Usmanov could no longer lead the FIE. And everyone answered him: he can do everything. And, as I said before, they confirmed this thesis by voting: while approving Katsiadakis as a temporary, they also approved Alisher Burkhanovich.
The Swede, however, didn’t stop there. He tried to disrupt the vote for the choice of Saudi Arabia as the venue for the world championship among juniors and cadets – he shouted about the violation of rights, the death penalty and the oppression of women. By then the hall had already started to buzz, everyone was tired of listening to a not quite sane person. Then he took off his shoe, as Nikita Sergeevich (Khrushchev) did, and began to bang on the microphone with it. That’s why I started my speech by asking congressional delegates to add mandatory mental health testing to mandatory COVID testing. Which, of course, was met with laughter. But seriously, such behavior by an official is unacceptable and abnormal.
– How much did you expect such a decision from the Congress?
– As far as I know, before the meeting, the FIE Executive Committee also discussed the issue, and they still believe that there is too much tension between the countries to make the decision we need. For us, a ray of light in the kingdom of darkness is the presence of this very extraordinary congress in March, which gives us a chance to participate in the Olympic Games. Note that the vote was “in a package”: suspension followed by an extraordinary congress in March. Yes, we will come back with a zero rating and we will come out of everything at the bottom. But, as I was saying lately, it is better to come from nowhere than not to come at all and sit at home,” Mammadov told a correspondent.
Source : MatchTV