Chechen Champion Faces Deportation From Austria
The Austrian national public service broadcast service “ORF” has reported that a young Chechen man, with a championship title in taekwondo, is facing deportation from Austria.
According to the information, 20 year old Yunadi Sugaipov fled from the Russian occupied Chechen Republic of Ichkeria to Austria’s Gasteain Valley in 2010 due to the ongoing war and oppression. He asked for asylum, but his demand was rejected by Austrian authorities, even though he is an Austrian taekwondo champion in the less than 68 kg group. He also trains the children on his team and everyone at the club has faith in his skills. Yunadi has high athletic goals. He said: “I would like to go to the European Championship, and maybe even to the World Cup, but of course only if I can stay”.
“If someone has high potential in such a rural society, we have to stand together with him. At the same time, we are aware of the dangers that he would face, if he was sent back to Russia or Chechnya. We must change the system and keep him here. Thus, we try to express his situation through the media, so that in this way, he may stay here.” said his coach, Andreas Hörtnagl.
“We heard what happens when you send back people to Russia, especially if they are Chechens,” said Christoph Schmidinger, from the Gasteain Taekwondo Club.
“Since there are more than 25,000 Chechens in Austria, it is not easy to prevent deportations. I know that not all of them are angels, but we have to look at the individual cases,” said Erika Pichler, a journalist and recognized translator for the Austrian courts.
On the other hand, ORF reminded Austrian authorities in its publication that “so many legionnaire players in football are brought to Austria and a lot of money was spent for bringing their excellence; thus, if we let Yunadi stay in Austria, he would be a top athlete for the country”.
*Text was written by Waynakh Online and edited by Michael Capobianco