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MOSCOW, October 3. /TASS/. Sergey Shmakov, the president of the Sapsan group of companies, presented keys from the apartment in Moscow to Representative of the Belarusian Ministry of Sports and Tourism Andrey Fomochkin, who carried the Russian flag at the opening ceremony of the 2016 Summer Paralympic Games.
"I want to express my gratitude to Andrey Fomochkin for his action and our country needs taking an example from such people as he is," Shmakov said as he was handing over a certificate for the apartment to Fomochkin.
"The idea of giving an apartment as a gift did not come to me at once, while it was a fantastic gesture. It was a gesture and about ten days ago it appeared to me that I cannot leave everything like this," Shmakov said adding that "it is personally from me and I am very pleased now."
Fomochkin carried the Russian national flag alongside his country’s at the opening ceremony of the 2016 Summer Paralympics last month in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro.
In an interview with TASS earlier in the day, Fomochkin said he did not know anything that somebody was planning to give him an apartment as a gift.
"I have no information at all," he told TASS. "As soon as somebody tells me anything, I will be thinking what to do next."
During a news conference in Moscow on Monday, Fomochkin presented the Russian flag he carried in Rio to Lidiya Abramova, the vice president of the Russian Paralympic Committee.
President of the Belarusian Paralympic Committee Oleg Shepel earlier said that the Russian flag gesture at the opening ceremony at the Maracana Stadium was to express solidarity with the entire Russian Paralympic team, which was barred by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) from taking part in the 2016 Rio Games. The next day after the opening ceremony the IPC announced that the Paralympic accreditation of Fomochkin had been revoked following his defiant gesture.
On August 7, the IPC decided to bar the whole Russian Paralympic team from taking part in the 2016 Summer Paralympics. The ruling came on the heels of a report delivered earlier in the summer by the Independent Commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).