Russian athletes lock lips, deny 'protesting' against anti-gay legislation

Kseniya Ryzhova and Tatyana Firova kissed each other after winning gold in the world championships. Many saw it as a mark of protest but the athletes have said 'there was no hidden political motive'.

Updated: August 20, 2013 18:36 IST
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While some are seeing the 'celebration' as a common sign of friendship, the kiss between Kseniya Ryzhova and Tatyana Firova after winning the world 4x400 metres is also being seen by many others as a mark of protest against the controversial anti-homosexuality legislation in Russia.

The contentious legislation, signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in June, outlines heavy penalties for anyone promoting homosexuality to people under 18. Apart from this, there is no clear protocol which has left several athletes either confused or furious at the nature and implimentation.

The kiss between Ryzhova and Firova has also started a heated online debate with surfers assessing if it indeed was a sign of protest from the two Russian athletes. Since however, Ryzhova was quoted as saying that there was no political overture to the celebration. "Instead of congratulating the athletes, they (the press) decided to insult not only Yulia but the whole (Russian) athletics federation. First of all, both Yulia and I are married."

Strangely though, Russia's pole vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva had found herself in the eye of a storm last week when she was quoted as saying that a relationship between a man and a woman is normal.

"We consider ourselves, like normal, standard people, we just live boys with women, girls with boys... it comes from the history," she had said but later announced that she was mis-interpreted.

There have been widespread protests in Russia however, against the legislation and several LGBT groups both within and outside the country have voiced their extreme angst against it.

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