Artistic Gymnastics

Olympic champion Oleg Verniaiev provisionally suspended by FIG

Ukraine's Rio 2016 parallel bars champion and all-around silver medallist barred from competition pending an "ongoing procedure".

By Rory Jiwani ·

Ukraine's Olympic artistic gymnastics champion Oleg Verniaiev has been provisionally suspended by the sport's governing body, FIG.

Verniaiev pulled out of last month's European Championships because, according to Ukraine head coach Gennady Sartynsky, he needed to defend his PhD dissertation and recover from minor injuries.

That event in Mersin, Turkey took place from 9-13 December with Verniaiev listed as suspended on 11 December.

Without him, and in the absence of the likes of Russia, Germany and Great Britain on coronavirus grounds, Ukraine won its first men's European title.

FIG website of Ukrainian male gymnasts showing Oleg Verniaiev's status as "suspended"

FIG has not revealed the reason for the 27-year-old's suspension, saying only that he is "provisionally suspended until the end of the procedure that is currently in progress. The FIG will not comment on an ongoing procedure”.

Head coach Sartynsky told on Tuesday he had been forbidden from talking about the matter by FIG.

He said, "They said not to say anything yet. When there is a decision, then it will be possible to say something. This is still confidential information."

He added, "What is Oleg doing now? Nothing yet."

At Rio 2016, Vernaiev took all-around silver after an epic battle with Uchimura Kohei.

He also won gold on the parallel bars, the first Olympic title for Ukraine in gymnastics since Athens 2004.

Just before the European Championships, he spoke to Olympic Channel about his plans for the future and coming back from two surgeries in 2019 as well as having to stop training due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Verniaiev wins Men's Parallel Bars gold

Oleg Verniaiev secures the gold medal for Ukraine in the men's parallel bar...