Two-time Olympic champion Alina Kabaeva believes the fact that she has been chosen the ambassador for the World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships and the ambassador for the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) can be seen as a sign of respect for Russia, which has long-standing traditions of victories in this sport.

In July, Kabaeva was announced the first ever ambassador for the World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships underway in Italy. The ambassador’s mission is to popularise and promote rhythmic gymnastics at the international level, reports Tass news agency.

“I am confident that sports should be outside politics,” she told reporters on Thursday.

“It was a great honour for me that I, a representative of Russia, was offered to take up this post — to become the ambassador for the World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships. It does not matter who takes it. However, the fact that Russia’s representative was entrusted to take up this post means our country’s recognition,” the 29-year-old added.

“I know that the Japanese national team often visits our country, athletes from South Korea, from America come to us. We share our experience with the whole world, so they should be grateful to us instead of taking offence, since we are training our rivals. However, we do not relax either,” Kabaeva added.

The World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships will end on September 3.