Updated at 01:25,03-03-2021

Kiryyenka who called Belarusian 'a dead tongue' to bear flag in Rio


35-year-old cyclist Vasil Kiryyenka will be Belarus’ flag bearer at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Rio. Shooting champion Syarhei Martynau was chosen at first. However, the International Olympic Committee asked to replace him because he is a coach now and flags can only be carried by the athletes participating in the Olympics.

Vasil Kiryyenka made a notorious statement about the Belarusian language in the spring of 2016. He called it ‘a dead language’. The Belarusian-speaking Spaniard Angela Espinosa called him 'a cycling idiot' in respond to his statement.