Gymnastics: Ukraine plays Russian anthem for home champion
The Ukrainian organisers of the Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships in Kiev were left red-faced Thursday after mistakenly playing the Russian national anthem to celebrate the victory of a Ukrainian gymnast.
Ukrainian Ganna Rizatdinova, who won gold in the individual hoop in the first day of competition Wednesday, started to sing the words to the anthem on top of the podium when she realised that that music was that of the anthem of Russia, not Ukraine.
A brief confused smile on the athlete's face was replaced by indignation as the hall of the Kiev Palace of Sports erupted with the jeers and catcalls of disgruntled Ukrainians.
Championship organisers switched on the right track a few seconds later and the Ukrainian anthem was played out at full volume.
Ukrainian state TV said it had been planned to use the Russian anthem for the winner of the individual ball competition, which a Russian athlete had won.
"I was so upset and even a little bit offended... Moreover, it was at home. What's going on?" an indignant Rizatdinova was quoted by media as saying.
"People are not accustomed to the victories of Ukraine.
"I can explain this situation only in such a way. All the gold is usually taken by the Russians and their flag is raised much more often."
Ukrainian nationalists regard the music to the Russian national anthem with particular disdain as they associate it with Soviet-era-oppression.
After a different tune was used following the fall of the USSR, President Vladimir Putin when he came to power decreed that Russia's national anthem should use the same music as the Soviet national anthem.
© 2013 AFP