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A world famous Russian female powerlifter has told of how she was stopped from boarding a plane until she could prove she was a woman.
Anna Turaeva, 42, spoke of the 'horror' she faced when she was subjected to intimate questions in front of other passengers on a scheduled flight.
The sportswoman, who has a string of records and medals representing her country, explained how she was initially barred from the flight with Russian airline Utair, from St Petersburg to her home city of Krasnodar via Moscow.
This was because the security staff did not believe she was a woman.
She said: "At the checkpoint they refused to let me pass through saying that it was written in my passport that I am a woman.
"It was humiliating.
"I was reprimanded like a child in front of people in the queue. [I was asked] intimate questions. [They were] interested in who I am in my life - and in bed."
Anna told how she kept her cool and 'did not allow myself the slightest rudeness'.
She said: "The whole queue was watching this anarchy, and I felt as helpless as possible in this situation. I was trying to prove that I am indeed a woman."
Anna said she quietly tried to explain to the airline representative that they were wrong to ask her to prove she was a woman.
She went on: "I did everything that depends on me for them to believe in my nature. Then a miracle happened, I was allowed to board the plane."
But she later hit out at the airline telling them: "I have worked all my youth.... with my blood and sweat for my country, not to be treated this way."
Utair rapidly offered an apology, telling her: "We apologise for the negative emotions you experienced. Such service is unacceptable. We will definitely check the actions of the airport employees who worked on your flight, and we will sort out the situation."
Anna - now a powerlifting coach - was a six times world champion in bench press, and holds multiple trophies for powerlifting.
But this was hard-earned - she was a 'sickly child', even to the extent that she was exempted from PE lessons until she turned 15.
She explained: "My father was a turner, he worked at a machine plant. He made iron - dumbbells, barbells and everything else - for my friends and me.
"My mum always supported me, even when I didn't look like all the other girls.
"It was a miracle for her that I stayed alive at all, as from the age of six to 15 I saw nothing but hospitals.
"She was always in favour of me living, moving forward, setting some goals."
Anna continued: "I see myself this way and I am not going to change and look different. I really love shops, hairdressing salons, manicure and cosmetic procedures. I see myself that way.
"I'm not going to prove anything to anyone. It's just my style, my lifestyle... I am so comfortable."
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