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Sports reporter: “In Russia I was humiliated”

“They have destroyed my reputation. They tore up my press pass in front of 26 delegations coming from the five continents, which destroyed my professional name”.

Maria Grazia Silvestri, journalist and photographer from Florence, cannot explain “the humiliation”, as she calls it, that she received from the General Secretary of the World Karate Federation, George Yerolimpus, during a sporting event dedicated to karate in Tyumen, Russia, since last 12 April.

On the second day of her presence at the event, the journalist also had her computer damaged and she was not paid the 1000 euros agreed with the Russian Federation of Karate. Silvestri, had an agreement with the event promoters to cover the competition in Russia and to publish the events, the matches and the results on the X-Kombat.com website and through the Facebook and Twitter pages she manages.

“The Russian Federation of Karate” Silvestri says, “gave me an assistant and paid my costs, health insurance, airline ticket and a 5-star hotel”. But after Silvestri was rudely sent away by the General Secretary of the World Karate Federation without any justification, the Russian Federation decided not to pay her.

While she is awaiting a response from the Italian sport entities – both public and professional – that were involved, her major problem is her damaged reputation, which is compromised in such a closed sector as karate.

“I’ve been covering karate events since 1995” Silvestri recalls. “In the past I have worked in Athens and Dubai and I have never had problems. I just tell the news. But now, after my pass was ripped up in front of a high office of the Federation, my reputation is ruined, who is going to trust me again? And, in this time of crisis, I am forced to say goodbye to a sector which represented my major income”.


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