The Australian Open Has Banned The Flying Of The Flags Of Russia And Belarus
The Australian Open has banned the flying of the flags of Russia and Belarus as a result of an incident that occurred on the courtside at the Australian Open tennis tournament. Initially, spectators were allowed to bring flags into Melbourne Park so long as they did not "disrupt" the event in any way.
But on Tuesday, the organizers changed their minds after spectators hoisted a Russian flag during a match between a player from the Ukraine named Kateryna Baindl and a player from Russia named Kamilla Rakhimova. The restriction goes into effect straight away.
In a statement, Tennis Australia said,
We will continue to work with the players and our fans to guarantee the greatest possible environment for enjoying the tennis.
- Tennis Australia
On Monday, fans from Ukraine are alleged to have contacted the police and other security personnel to the venue of the first-round match, claiming that Russian supporters were "taunting" Baindl. One supporter was quoted in the local newspaper The Age as saying, "This is fundamentally unsafe, the fight is ongoing."
COPYRIGHT_WI: Published on https://washingtonindependent.com/w/the-australian-open-has-banned-the-flying-of-the-flags-of-russia-and-belarus/ by Daisy-Mae Schmitt on 2023-01-17T22:31:44.566Z
However, one of the Russian men who took part in the incident stated to The Age that his group had merely been supporting their fellow countrywoman. His exact words were, "People can view that as being obnoxious but we were just being your normal supporters. There was no ridiculing or disrespect."
Earlier in the day, the Ambassador of Ukraine to Australia and New Zealand requested that Tennis Australia take appropriate measures.
Since the invasion of Ukraine began in February of the previous year, Russian and Belarusian athletes have not been able to compete in a variety of sports under the flags of their respective countries. This includes the sport of tennis.
Australian Open bans Russian and Belarusian flags from tournament
At the current Australian Open, players from both countries are competing under a neutral white flag; but, beginning in 2022, they will no longer be allowed to compete at Wimbledon under any circumstances.
The Association of Tennis Professionals and the Women's Tennis Association ultimately decided to penalize the tournament by docking it's ranking points and levying a fine against the tournament's organizers. The WTA has stated that it is imperative to safeguard players' rights to equal opportunity to compete as individuals.
On Tuesday, the administration of the state of Victoria stated that Tennis Australia had reached the appropriate conclusion.
Acting Prime Minister of Australia, Jancinta Allan, condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine, describing it as "abhorrent."
It breaches international human rights obligations. It's been enabled and supported by Belarus. This sends a very, very clear message that human rights are important, whether it's in sport, or more broadly in our community.
- Acting Prime Minister of Australia, Jancinta Allan
The ban was enacted after a tennis player from Ukraine named Marta Kostyuk stated that she would not shake hands with opponents from Russia or Belarus because she believes that those countries have not done enough to condemn the invasion.