ANTI-GAY GOLD: Yelena Isinbayeva (PA)
RUSSIAN ATHLETICS icon Yelena Isinbayeva has attracted further criticism for her comments about gay people from British heptathlete Louise Hazel.
Isinbayeva this week won pole-vaulting gold at the World Championships in Moscow, however, her achievement has been overshadowed yesterday when speaking about athletes supporting gay rights in her country.
Russia has enacted a law banning the material that promotes homosexuality to those aged below 18.
The 31-year-old gold medallist is a Youth Olympics ambassador, and Hazel believes the international body should review her position.
“The International Olympic Committee should revise her position”, she said.
“It should be their first point of call after the championships are over,” added Hazel, who revealed the Russian’s comments left her in “deep shock”.
At Thursday’s controversial news conference, Isinbayeva told reporters: “We just live with boys with women, women with boys.
“We never had these problems in Russia and we don't want to have any in the future.”
She further defended the anti-gay law, and added: “It's their life, it's their choice, it's their feelings, but we're just against the publicity in our country and I support that.”
Hazel claimed the star pole-vaulter was “being outwardly homophobic”.
The 27-year-old athlete added: “It's the 21st century and obviously Russia has been very outwardly spoken about homosexuality.
SHOCKED: Louise Hazel (PA)
“It seems the issue has been brushed under the carpet up until now.
“I think it's really important that there's a review of what she's said and that the IOC really look and question whether that is in line with their values and their beliefs.”
Isinbayeva was appointed an IOC ambassador in 2010 by its president Jacques Rogge, who at the time said: “We have a true champion in Yelena, a true role model for young people”.
This view has been contradicted by her gay rights remarks, said Hazel.
POLE ACTION: Yelena Isinbayeva shows she is better at vaulting over a lofty bar than making comments on social norms (PA)
“A role model is somebody we can look to for inspiration and also to imitate,” she explained.
“You're not supposed to exclude anyone and that's what she's done in making these comments.”
Isinbayeva is the world's best pole-vaulter and has set 28 world records over her career - aside from her athletics profession, she is also an officer in the Russian army.
Her opinions on gay rights follow international calls from civil rights groups to boycott the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia.
Stephen Fry used social media to publicise an open letter he wrote to Prime MInister David Cameron, urging the British leader to withdraw the UK from participating.