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Russian coach ‘did not know’ his racist gesture was racist

Aug 09,2019
A coach for the Russian women’s national volleyball team denied on Thursday he meant anything disrespectful to Korea with his slant-eye gesture following a recent match.

Sergio Busato, an Italian-born assistant coach, is under fire for making what is widely considered a racist gesture following Russia’s victory over Korea at an Olympic qualification tournament in Russia on Sunday. The come-from-behind win sent Russia to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The Korea Volleyball Association filed a complaint with the sport’s international governing body, FIVB, over Busato’s action, which was captured in a photo published on Russian website Sport 24.

In an interview with Sport 24, Busato denied he meant anything discriminatory with his gesture.

“My gesture did not mean anything other than the fact that I celebrated the Russian national team entering the Olympic Games in Japan,” the coach said. “I did not know that my gesture was perceived as offensive and did not even immediately understand what the problem was. Two years ago, I celebrated going to Brazil [for the Olympics], and I danced the samba.”

Yonhap