Isinbayeva attacks 'penniless' Volgograd ahead of World Cup
Russian pole vaulter puts her foot in it again – this time slagging off her 'decayed' home town
RUSSIAN pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva has opened her mouth again, and again she's offended millions. Last week she hit the headlines after jumping to the defence of her country's anti-homosexual laws. While she caused outrage round the world, her diatribe won the approval of many of her fellow Russians.
But they could be feeling less enamoured of Isinbayeva after learning of her latest rant – against her home city of Volgograd, which is one of the 11 host cities for the 2018 World Cup. It seems that the 31-year-old Isinbayeva, who won gold in the pole vault in last week's World Athletic Championships, doesn't much care for the city, formerly known as Stalingrad.
According to the Russian paper Argumenty i Fakty, Isinbayeva believes the city has "decayed". In fact, she dislikes her birthplace so much that she intends to relocate to what she considers the more salubrious surrounds of Monaco.
Justifying her decision, the double Olympic champion said: "What can one do in penniless Volgograd? It has become a frightening, old city… the roads are terrible, you'd go mad trying to fix your car. If you buy a foreign car you might as well write it off."
Volgograd, which is 600 miles south of Moscow, is known in Russia as the 'City of Victories' after its citizens, together with the Red Army, repelled the Germans during two years of bitter fighting in World War Two.
But Isinbayeva claims little investment has been made in the city in recent decades and the result is a crumbling infrastructure. "You simply need to create decent conditions to live here," she said. "In our city we do not have the conditions to live."
Although she admits to having "many responsibilities in Volgograd", Isinbayeva has reached the conclusion: "I want to live in Monaco."
Isinbayeva's comments are sure to anger President Vladimir Putin, because of Volgograd's importance to Russian's plans for hosting the World Cup in five years' time.
However, the Russian athlete has since attempted to clarify her comments in much the same way she did last week. On that occasion she claimed her anti-gay remarks had been due to her poor grasp of English.
Now, in an interview with Sovetsky Sport, Isinbayeva claims it was a "distortion" to suggest she had insulted Volgograd. Rather, she was merely highlighting the lack of sports facilities in the city. She is still very much a proud Russian, Isinbayeva insists, and one day she hopes to work for the Russian sports ministry. President Putin will be pleased. ·