There is a chance that wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt, who originally won bronze in the 60kg freestyle category at the London Olympics, might end up with the gold medal. The original winner in the category, Toghrul Asgarov of Azerbaijan, has, according to sources, tested positive in a reanalysis of the sample collected in 2012.
Dutt’s bronze was upgraded to silver in identical fashion a few days back after the original silver medallist, Besik Kudukhov of Russia, tested positive in reanalysis done as part of the World Anti-doping Agency’s (WADA’s) and the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC’s) “legacy testing” programme.
However, wrestling experts in the country are unsure about the technical rules which would be applied in determining if it would be Dutt, or Scott Coleman of USA (the bronze medallist from the other bracket who lost to Asgarov in the semifinals), who would end up getting the upgrade to gold.
According to an international referee, Dutt has a fair chance as “he did better in his bronze medal bout, compared to the American”. The official spoke on the basis of the ranking system employed by the sport’s world governing body, the United World Wrestling (UWW).
Dutt beat Ri Jong-Myong of North Korea in the repechage bronze match via technical superiority in the final period, winning 2-1 (0-1, 1-0, 6-0). Coleman, on the other hand, beat Kenichi Yumoto of Japan 2-1 (0-1, 3-0, 3-1).
“When you compare the two bouts, it is evident that Dutt has scored more technical points and hence ranks higher. When we rank wrestlers in a competition, technical points scored from the throws and holds are taken into consideration,” added the official. “Though the American wrestler lost to the eventual gold medallist, I feel that the UWW will take into consideration the technical points and then decide who gets gold.”
However, there is ambiguity here and the Indian officials have their fingers crossed. “I also had a word with the Wrestling Federation of India top brass. We are all hoping it would be Dutt.”
But the fact remains that on the mat in London, it was the American, Coleman, who lost to the gold medallist and, naturally, will stake a claim that he deserves the top prize if Asgarov loses his medal.
In competitions, the wrestlers are divided into two pools (brackets) with the two winners advancing to the gold-medal clash. The wrestlers who lose to the finalists get into the repechage brackets and fight for bronze.
Dutt had lost to Kudokhov in the pre-quarterfinals 0-2 (0-1, 0-2) and fought his way through repechage to win bronze while Coleman lost to Asgarov by a wider margin 0-2 (0-1, 0-4) and then won his bronze-medal match. Coleman, by virtue of reaching the semi-final had to fight only once to win his bronze while Dutt won his bronze medal match overcoming Franklin Gomez of Puerto Rico, Masoud Esmaeilpour of Iran and Jong-Myong of North Korea.
The longer route to bronze will not be a factor but what might work for Dutt is the fact that he lost to the finalist, Kudhokov, by a 3-0 technical points margin while Coleman lost his bout to Asgarov 5-0. And, in their respective bronze matches, the Indian scored an aggregate of seven technical points against his opponent’s one (7-1) while Coleman won 6-2 (aggregate technical points).
Numbers give Dutt an advantage but wrestling is a sport that prides itself in deciding the winner by straightforward technical edge on the mat which even a layman can understand.
Now that this confusing situation has come up, the sport’s governing body, United World Wrestling (UWW), might be forced to take a subjective stand to avoid bad blood or controversy.
While the Indian wrestling fraternity is hoping Dutt ends up with the gold, the whole doping episode is casting a dark shadow on the sport and is not the kind of the precedent it would want to set going into the future.