“Monkey”

Ailama Cesé Montalvo. Photo courtesy of the Lokomotiv Volleyball Club’s press service

Andrei Voronkov, the coach of the volleyball club Lokomotiv Kaliningrad, called a player on the competing team a “monkey” during Lokomotiv’s championship final match against Uralochka-NTMK. His remark has sparked a scandal, with the sports community demanding that the winning club’s skipper at least apologize.

On May 12, during a timeout in the decisive match, Voronkov chastised his players for losing the initiative and getting behind in the score. He turned to blocker Valeria Zaitseva and shouted, “Why are you trying to catch that monkey again?” Viewers of the match’s broadcast thought that the coach had directed his remark at Uralochka’s Cuban striker Ailama Cesé Montalvo, who is an important part of the Sverdlovsk team’s offensive line.

A screenshot of a video of the scandalous conversation between Coach Voronkov and player Valeria Zaitseva, as posted on Uralochka’s VK page. You can listen to Voronkov’s “pep talk” there. He does indeed audibly say what he is accused of saying.

In conversation with E1.ru, Uralochka-NTMK CEO Valentina Ogiyenko stressed that the insult could not be put down to the emotionally charged atmosphere during the Super League’s decisive match. She is sure that public apologies and the volleyball federation’s reaction will help to remedy the situation.

“Emotions are no excuse. Nikolay Vasilyevich Karpol worked [as Uralochka’s coach] for many years, but he never did such a thing, although there were much more serious and emotional matches in his career. Even at the Olympics, I have never heard such a thing from any coach. But we have three coaches in our country who excel at this behavior. […] I think that Andrei Voronkov should make a public apology in the same format as the insult was inflicted. […] He should not call Ailama and whisper ‘Sorry, dear’ in her ear. [His apology] should be broadcast on a national TV channel,” Ogiyenko said.

Uralochka’s press service also stated that the club expects an apology from the Lokomotiv coach. And the disciplinary commission, which monitors unsportsmanlike behavior during the championship, should put the matter to rest, reports Sports.ru.

Sports commentator Dmitry Guberniev has been the most categorical of all. On his Telegram channel, he called Andrei Voronkov a “racist” and a “disgrace,” saying that the Lokomotiv coach should be demonstratively banned from the profession.

The general director of the Kaliningrad team, Alexander Kosyrkov, has not yet evaluated the incident in any way.

“This is the first time I’ve ever heard about it. I was sitting in the stands and didn’t hear the break. I didn’t see that moment at all. I’m not up to reviewing videos and anything else right now. I’m not going to review the match yet. I’m a little bit not up to it now,” he told the newspaper Sport Ekpress.

Uralochka missed winning the heavily fought five-set match only on the tie-break. For the first time in six years, the team took second place in the Russian Volleyball Championship. But the Cuban athlete Ailama Montalvo will leave the team: the Ural climate does not suit her. She will continue her career at another club.

Source: “Opposing coach called Uralochka volleyballer a ‘monkey’, sports community demands punishment,” Vse novosti, 13 May 2022. Translated by the Russian Reader


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