Swedish athlete in Moscow warned over rainbow nails changes them to red ‘for love’

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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 changed them to red to represent “love”, after being 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.

She was later told by the International Association of Athletics Federations that she may be in violation of the code, and was advised to change her nails to another colour.

“It was harder to not paint them in the rainbow than it was to choose to paint them,” said the athlete on Saturday. “I’m surprised by the big reactions, but I’m happy about the big reaction because it’s mostly been very positive.”

On being asked to “please respect the rules, Green Tregaro said: “So I decided to paint them red instead, for love.”

The 28-year-old won bronze at the 2005 world championships, but on Saturday placed fifth.

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

Also at Moscow,  US track and field star Nick Symmonds, who earlier this week dedicated a silver medal to gay and lesbian people, has spoken out against Russian anti-gay laws, saying they have started the “defining civil rights movement of our time”.

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.