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Ivan Kuliak: Russian gymnast has no regrets over 'Z' symbol in support of invasion of Ukraine

Kuliak was seen wearing the letter 'Z' while on the podium after winning bronze in the parallel bars at a World Cup event in Doha.

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Russian gymnast Ivan Kuliak has defended his decision to wear a 'Z' symbol in support of the invasion of Ukraine while on the podium at a World Cup event in Doha. 

The 20-year-old wore the 'Z' on his chest after winning bronze in the parallel bars, with the letter having been seen on the sides of Russian tanks.

Russia's defence ministry explained on social media last week that the symbol stems from the Russian За победу, which begins with a 'z' sound and means "for the victory".

Kuliak insisted he would do the same thing again, despite his actions being deemed as 'shocking behaviour' by the International Gymnastics Federation.

"If there was a second chance and I had a choice whether to go out with a letter 'Z' on my chest or not, I would do the same," said Kuliak.

"I saw it on our military and looked at what this symbol means. It turned out to be 'for victory' and 'for peace'. I just wanted to show my position. As an athlete, I will always fight for victory and play for peace."

The FIG recently stated that all Russian gymnasts and officials would be banned from international events from March 7 until further notice.

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