Three-time European karate champion Anzhelika Terliuga has made a prank call in which she invited champion gymnast Oleg Verniaiev to visit her in a hotel, teasing her fellow Ukrainian after splitting from her karate boyfriend.
28-year-old Terliuga suggested Vernyaev, a six-time European champion and gold medalist at the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016, could visit her at a hotel as part of a joke during an interview.
In a deliberately meandering invitation, the female kumite Grand Winner in 2017 confused Vernyaev before relaying the clip on Instagram, where the 26-year-old playfully threatened to take revenge for the stunt.
She admitted she had felt “ashamed” despite having fun on the program, acknowledging that she had been “super honest” in acknowledging the recent upheaval in her love life.
According to Terliuga, her three-and-a-half year relationship with German karate star Noah Bitsch ended this summer because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Quarantine,” she replied, when asked why the pair were no longer an item.
“The coronavirus has killed our relationship. But I didn’t suffer.”
Terliuga added that the lockdown had affected Bitsch and that she had found their split “unpleasant” before apologizing to the unsuspecting Vernyaev for the “late call”.
She won silver at the European Games in Minsk in the 55kg category in 2019 but has had more time to herself outside of competition this year as the pandemic has heavily disrupted the karate calendar.
At the end of last month, Terliuga was inducted into a ‘Square of Stars’ in Kiev in recognition of an outstanding martial arts career that has seen her win a total of seven medals for her country.
She has also filmed herself flooring four male competitors in a choreographed indoor training session, wearing boxing gloves during work with the national team, performing a toilet roll challenge and indulging her taste for fashion.
Filming herself training with resistance equipment on a beach last month, she told her Instagram following of more than 70,000 that she loved her team, adding: “With such support, I will win everything.”
On Olympic Day in June, she spoke of her passion for her sport by reflecting: “Sport is the best thing I ever did in my life.
“Thank you for the strength of character, the real discipline to become a racer, the knowledge how to take a punch and for the tears of joy.”