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Belarus Athlete Walks Off Awards Podium As Wrong Anthem Plays

  • RFE/RL's Belarus Service

A gold-medal-winning Belarusian athlete walked off the awards podium after the wrong anthem was played during a medal ceremony at a European championship meet.

Viyaleta Skvartsova, who won a gold medal in the triple jump, said she was insulted when organizers of the U20 Track and Field Championships played the national anthem for Bosnia and Herzegovina instead of the Belarusian anthem at the July 22 ceremony.

"I understood that I was disrupting the procedures of the awards ceremony and could face some sanctions for that, including deprivation of my medal, but I could not stand there while an anthem of a country other than my Motherland was playing," Skvartsova said in a statement posted to the Belarus track and field federation's website July 23.

The organizers of the ceremony in Grosseto, Italy apologized for the mistake and held another ceremony for Skvartsova later on July 22.

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