Swedish athlete at Moscow Athletics Championship paints nails in rainbow colours against anti-gay law

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A Swedish athlete at the World Athletics Championships currently taking place in Moscow, has made a stand against anti-gay laws introduced in Russia in June, by painting her nails in rainbow colours.

High jumper Emma Green-Tregaro, 28, made the show of support for Russia’s LGBT community by painting her nails in the rainbow colours for the qualifying round of the event.

“It felt right,” she said, also telling Reuters that she got the idea when she saw an actual rainbow over Moscow. “I wouldn’t say it was a protest more of a statement of what I think.”

“When I first came to Moscow, the first thing I saw when I opened the curtains was a rainbow over Moscow and I thought that was a pretty good sign,” she said, continuing to say that 200 meters runner Moa Hjelmer had also done the same.

“I hadn’t thought about it before then I decided to paint my nails. I usually do my nails in something that feels good for me and it was a simple way of showing what I think.”

Yesterday, Nick Symmonds, a US track and field star, won silver in the men’s 800m at the Moscow World Athletic Championships yesterday, and used his speech to dedicate it to his gay and lesbian friends.

The issue of foreign athletes competing in Russia has cause an international outcry ahead of the Sochi Winter Olympics due to take place in February.

President Vladimir Putin signed the law in June banning the promotion of “non-traditional relationships” toward minors, a move that has been criticised as part of a broader crackdown on Russia’s gay community. Other laws banning the adoption of Russian children by foreign same-sex couples, and one which enables organisations receiving funding from abroad to be fined as “foreign agents”, were also passed.

The laws have so far sparked controversy among LGBT activists, with some calling for a boycott of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Others have also called to boycott Russian vodka as a form of protest.

On Monday, the Russian Interior Ministry confirmed that recently introduced anti-gay legislation will remain in force during the Sochi games.

A petition which has gathered over 150,000 signatures, calls for the 2014 games to be relocated to Vancouver, following the passage of anti-gay laws in Russia.

In an interview last week, a senior International Olympics Committee member said: “Russia must respect the Olympic Charter, or we will say goodbye to them”, broaching the question of relocating the games with the IOC for the first time.

The international football governing body FIFA yesterday called on Russia to give “clarification and more details” about the laws ahead of the 2018 World Cup due to take place in the country.