Swedish athlete at Moscow Athletics Championship advised to change her rainbow painted nails

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The Swedish high jumper who painted her fingernails in the colours of the rainbow to campaign against anti-gay laws in Russia has been told she could be in violation of the code of conduct at the world championships.

High jumper Emma Green-Tregaro, 28, made the show of support for Russia’s LGBT community on Thursday 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.

Recently however, athletics officials have advised Ms Green-Tregaro not to repeat the nail-painting gesture in the world championship high-jump final at Luzhniki Stadium on Saturday.

Anders Albertsson, the general secretary of the Swedish athletics federation, spoke to reporters outside the stadium on the issue.

He said: “We have been informally approached by the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) saying that this is by definition, a breach of the regulations. We have informed our athletes about this.”

He added: “The code of conduct clearly states the rules do not allow any commercial or political statements during the competition.”

Mr Albertsson said the Swedish delegation had not put pressure on Ms Tregaro to change the colour of her fingernails, but “understood from Swedish media her nails are now red.”

He said: “If she knows she might be breaking the rules, that’s a decision she takes, we don’t have any objections on how they paint their fingernails”.

Ms Tregaro’s painted nails also prompted Russia’s pole vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva to brand her “disrespectful to our country”.

Ms Isinbayeva, an ambassador for next year’s Winter Olympics to be staged in Sochi, recently came under controversy for saying she supported the Russian anti-gay laws.

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.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has said they are currently seeking “clarification” from Russia on how the law will be applied.

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.