Serbian volleyball player cops ban for racist gesture

Sports | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 11 Jun 2021

A Serbian volleyball player has been hit with a two-match ban after making a racist gesture during a match against Thailand.

Sanja Djurdjevic was photographed pulling at the corners of her eyes with her fingers - a gesture aimed at Asians.

The incident happened during her side's 3-0 victory over the Thai team at the Volleyball Nations League in Rimini, Italy.

The sport's governing body said its disciplinary committee found that she violated regulations with the gesture. It also fined the Serbian volleyball federation 20,000 Swiss francs (HK$173,000).

Serbian federation officials said they accepted the decision, offered apologies "to all affected" and insisted the gesture "wasn't meant to be provocative or insulting" but as "rather affectionate."

The Serbia team will later this month head to Tokyo for the Olympics, where they face South Korea, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Kenya and hosts Japan in Pool A.

Serbia took silver at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, losing to China in the final.

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