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Wrestler who won Ukraine’s only Gold medal at Tokyo Olympics says he was racially abused

An Ukrainian wrestler who won his country’s only gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics said he was racially abused when he returned from the Games.

Zhan Beleniuk, 30, is a two-time world wrestling champion who also became Ukraine’s first black lawmaker when he entered parliament for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s Servant of the People Party in 2019.

He celebrated his victory by performing a traditional Ukrainian dance named Hopak while holding the flag.

Zhan Beleniuk performs a traditional Ukrainian dance after defeating Viktor Lorincz at the Tokyo Olympic Games

Ukrainian police have launched an investigation.

“Beleniuk is our hero, this is a provocation,” said Oleksandr Pastukhov, the spokesperson of the Ukrainian Federation of Greco-Roman and Sports Wrestling.

Beleniuk, was born to an Ukrainian mother and a Rwandan father. He has previously mentioned that he had been racially abused as a child.

At the Olympics, he won the Greco-Roman middleweight gold by beating Hungary’s Viktor Lorincz in the final. He also won a medal at the Rio Olympics in 2016.


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