MOSCOW: Yelena Isinbayeva has sought to defuse the row over the  omments condemning homosexuality which compromised her role as  Youth Olympics ambassador.

On Thursday, the 31-year-old newly recowned world pole vault champion spoke up in support of Russia’s anti-gay legislation.

In a statement released by the IAAF, world athletics’ governing body, she said:  “English is not my first language and I think I may have been misunderstood. I am opposed to any discrimination against gay people on the grounds of their sexuality.”

“What I wanted to say was that people should respect the laws of other countries, particularly when they are guests,” she stated.

Isinbayeva will be the mayor of the main athletes’ village at the Winter Olympics in Sochi next February.
In response, earlier this week, United States runner Nick Symmonds dedicated his world 800m silver medal to his gay and lesbian friends, while Swedish high jumper Emma Green-Tregaro painted her fingernails in the colours of the rainbow flag.

Speaking in English at a news conference on Thursday, Isinbayeva, who is also an ambassador for the Youth Olympics, had said of Green-Tregaro’s actions: “It’s disrespectful to our country, disrespectful to our citizens because we are Russians.

“Maybe we are different than European people and people from different lands. We have our law which everyone has to respect. When we go to different countries, we try to follow their rules.

“We are not trying to set our rules over there. We are just trying to be respectful.

“We consider ourselves, like normal, standard people, we just live boys with women, girls with boys. It comes from the history. I hope the problem won’t ruin our Olympic Games in Sochi.”