Russian gymnast Ivan Kuliak has filed an appeal against his suspension ©YouTube

Controversial Russian gymnast Ivan Kuliak has filed an appeal against the Gymnastics Ethics Foundation (GEF) Disciplinary Commission’s decision to suspend him for a year.

Kuliak wore the letter "Z", a symbol associated with Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, during the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) Apparatus World Cup in Doha in March.

He also wore the letter during the medal ceremony for the parallel bars, which was won by Ukrainian Ilia Kovtun.

The FIG reacted angrily at the time, describing Kuliak’s action as "shocking behaviour", and Russian athletes were banned from FIG events shortly after.

The GEF then suspended Kuliak, ordered the gymnast to return his bronze medal and prize money of CHF500 (£400/$500/€475) and Kuliak was also ordered to pay costs of CHF2,000 (£1,600/$2,000/€1,900).

"Mr Kuliak is not allowed to participate in any FIG-sanctioned event or competition organised by an affiliated FIG member federation for one year, as of the date of this decision," the disciplinary ruling said.

The panel’s decision was based on the fact that Kuliak "breached the FIG statutes, the FIG code of discipline, the FIG code of ethics, the FIG code of conduct and the FIG technical regulations when he wore the letter Z on his singlet during the competition and award ceremony."

Olympic gold medallist Angelina Melnikova was also spotted displaying the
Olympic gold medallist Angelina Melnikova was also spotted displaying the "Z" symbol which is associated with the invasion of Ukraine ©Instagram

However, the athlete has now appealed against the decision, with Russian Artistic Gymnastics Federation (FSGR) President Vasily Titov confirming the same to Russia’s official state news agency TASS.

"Kuliak filed an appeal with the Gymnastic Ethics Foundation Appeal Tribunal against the decision of the disciplinary commission to disqualify him for one year," Titov told TASS.

The FIG also threatened to disqualify two Russian coaches - Valentina Rodionenko and Igor Kalabushkin - for Kuliak 's action.

However, there was no disciplinary ruing by the GEF against them as the panel was not able to find any violations of the FIG rules on their part.

Kuliak was among a group of Russian athletes who attended a "pro-victory" rally alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin in March.

In early May, Olympic women's artistic team gold medallist Angelina Melnikova was spotted holding a "Z" symbol at a Victory Day parade in Voronezh.

Other Russian athletes who supported the war include Olympic gymnastics gold medallist Nikita Nagornyy and two-time Olympic swimming champion Evgeny Rylov, who has ben suspended for nine months by the International Swimming Federation for taking part in a pro-war rally.