Two Russian fencers wanted for escaping to USA

Russian fencers put on wanted list for escaping to USA

The Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs put Russian fencers Sergei and Violetta Bida on wanted list after the athletes left for the United States. At the same time, it remains unknown which article of the Russian Criminal Code was used to put the two world medalists in fencing on wanted list.

Tokyo Olympics vice-champion Sergei Bida and his wife, world medalist Violetta Bida (nee Khrapina) left Russia without permission. The athletes were active officers of the Russian Guard, but they voluntarily left Russia in 2023 and moved to the United States (to California).

Sergei was a member of Dynamo Moscow and had the rank of a warrant officer of the Russian Guard; Violetta Bida was an active service member of the Ministry of Defence at CSKA Moscow.

In the States, the couple took part in competitions without the consent of the Russian side, TASS said. Thus, the epee fencers violated regulations and became targets of criminal prosecution.

The epee fencers abandoned Russia for international tournaments

In July 2023, the US Fencing Association (USFA) announced that Bida would perform in the national championship. Fencer Oleg Knysh and saber fencer Konstantin Lokhanov were announced as well.

The athletes were required to comply with several conditions, such as:

  • condemn the actions of Russia and Belarus,
  • avoid any physical attributes that may indicate their nationality.

Immediately after Sergei and Violetta Bida left Russia, the Russian Fencing Federation announced that Alexander Glazunov had left the post of senior coach of the Russian fencing team. Glazunov then said that he did not consider himself guilty of the current situation.

"I wasn't particularly aware of their trip. As I understand it, they bought a one-way ticket. I don't know why I'm responsible. But it's okay, life goes on," Alexander Glazunov said.

Sergei Bida is the grandson of the famous fencer, Olympic champion Valentina Rastvorova and Olympic water polo champion Boris Grishin. At the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Bida won a silver medal in the team event in epee fencing. Sergei also became a three-time European champion in team epee.

Violetta Bida performed at the 2019 World Championships and won a silver medal in the team epee tournament. In addition, she won a silver medal at the European Championship in the same discipline.

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Author`s name Petr Ermilin
Editor Dmitry Sudakov