A Russian women’s volleyball team have demanded a public apology over the incident
A Russian women’s volleyball team have demanded a public apology from a rival trainer after he was caught on camera appearing to refer to a player as a “monkey” during a decisive championship match.
Lokomotiv Kaliningrad head coach Andrey Voronkov was addressing his team during a timeout in the meeting with Uralochka-NTMK, which was the fifth and final clash in their Russian Women’s Super League title series on Thursday night.
Pulling Lokomotiv player Valeriya Zaitseva aside for specific advice, Voronkov was overheard telling her: “Why are you catching this monkey again?”
The comments have been widely taken as a reference to black Cuban Uralochka star Ailama Cese Montalvo, triggering outrage among the team from Ekaterinburg.
“Andrey Gennadievich [Voronkov] must make a public apology,” wrote Uralochka on their Telegram channel.
The club’s general director, Valentina Ogiyenko, told Match TV the incident was an “international scandal.”
“This broadcast was surely seen in Cuba, the leaders of the local volleyball federation – 100% [watched it]. You can’t miss this,” said Ogiyenko, herself a former Soviet Olympic gold medalist.
“The Russian Volleyball Federation should deal with this. It is also impossible to miss this for the Lokomotiv team, the club management and not only the club.
“Andrei Voronkov must officially apologize to Ailama. Even if not in front of us, but in front of the girl. This should happen publicly, just as it was publicly [seen] throughout the country.”
Voronkov, 54, was head of the Russian men’s team between 2013 and 2015 and represented his country during his days as a player.
The Russian Volleyball Federation vowed an investigation if the footage was confirmed to show what many believe it did.
“If this information is confirmed, we will, of course, analyze this point,” said deputy general director Mikhail Podlozny.
“If everything happened with Voronkov as you say, this is an unpleasant incident. I think the disciplinary commission will look at it.”
Neither Lokomotiv nor Voronkov have commented on the incident at the time of writing.
He went on to watch his team clinch the Russian Women’s Super League title in Kaliningrad with a five-set victory to seal the series with Uralochka 3-2 overall.
The title is the second in a row for Lokomotiv, after they claimed a maiden championship last season.
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