Fatima Zhagupova and Elina Gismeeva
Elina Gismeeva (left) and Fatima Zhagupova (right) died after drowning in the sea off the Russian Black Sea naval port of Sevastopol. Image Credit: Social media

Two world-class female kickboxers died yesterday in a swimming tragedy in Crimea after one jumped in the water to save the other during a storm.

World Champion Fatima Zhagupova, 33, and Vice Champion Elina Gismeeva, 27, drowned in sea off the Russian Black Sea naval port of Sevastopol.

The Russian pair were respectively the world champion and runner-up in last year’s world series listings from the World Association of Kickboxing Organisations.

The Kickboxing Federation of Russia noted that both athletes were at a Crimean training camp and they thought they would go and have a swim in the yacht club beach.

Storm warning

Reports say one of the women jumped off a pier at the Yug yacht club despite a storm warning. The other one jumped after her trying to save her friend.

Officials have confirmed that the location was not a designated swimming area.

According to a Daily Mail report: “Both women screamed for help, but the emergency services were unable to reach the pier by sea due to the force of the storm, the local emergency department said.

“When the rescuers arrived at the site on Sunday evening, they saw the lifeless body of one of the women floating in the bay.”

Confirming the deaths, Emergencies Ministry official Alexander Veselkov, said: “Despite a warning of stormy weather, two women drowned while swimming.”

And, the Deputy Head of the Department for Providing Civil Protection Measures of the city government, Vladimir Bespaly specified that Fatima Zhagupova was a resident of Moscow born in 1986, and Elina Gismeeva was a resident of Murmansk born in 1992.

Both bodies were retrieved a few hours later during a search operation.

Crimea is a Black Sea peninsula annexed by Russia from Ukraine in 2014.