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Russian pole vault great defends anti-gay stance

Russia's pole vault world champion Yelena Isinbayeva has defended the country's controversial new anti-gay law.

The double Olympic gold medallist, widely regarded as the greatest female pole-vaulter of all time, said Russians were "normal, standard people".

"We just live boys with women, girls with boys... it comes from history," said the 31-year-old at a press conference.

Yelena Isinbayeva is the face of the Moscow World Championships and won gold this week. Credit: EMPICS Sport/EMPICS Sport

"Maybe we are different than European people and people from different lands."

Isinbayeva also criticised two Swedish athletes who protested against the Russian law banning the promotion of homosexuality by painting their nails in the colour of the rainbow flag.

"It's disrespectful to our country, disrespectful to our citizens because we are Russians. We have our law which everyone has to respect. When we go to different countries, we try to follow their rules," the Russian athlete said.