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Volleyball player suspended for racist gesture against Thai opponents

Serbian volleyball player Sanja Djurdjevic has been suspended for two international matches after making a racist gesture during a game against Thailand.

The Volleyball Federation of Serbia was also fined 20,000 Swiss francs (approximately $ 22,300) by the Disciplinary Committee of the International Volleyball Federation after Djurdjevic strained his eyelids in a gesture. slanted eyes during a clash of the FIVB National Women’s Volleyball League.

Djurdjevic will miss his national team’s upcoming games against Belgium and Canada.

The fine will go “to a cause dedicated to combating discriminatory behavior and / or funding culturally sensitive educational programs for the global volleyball family,” the FIVB said in a statement posted online this week.

“The FIVB is committed to fostering understanding, solidarity and unity against all forms of discriminatory behavior,” added the organization. “The FIVB will continue to work tirelessly with all of its National Federations to ensure that these values ​​are reflected throughout the community. “

Djurdjevic has since apologized for the offensive gesture, which she described as “unhappy and not so smart”.

“I am aware of my mistake and immediately after the game I apologized to the entire Thai team,” she wrote in a now deleted Instagram post. “I just wanted to address my teammates with the message, ‘now we’re going to start playing defense like them,’ I didn’t want to disrespect anyone.”

The incident comes four years after the Serbian team celebrated qualifying for the 2018 FIVB Women’s World Championship in Japan in an equally offensive manner.

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