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Yogeshwar’s London Olympics upgrade, gold or silver, could take months

Yogeshwar Dutt’s London Olympics medal upgrade—be it to gold or silver—will take a long time coming as the technical decision has to be made by United World Wrestling (UWW), the sport’s global governing body, before it forwards the decision to the IOC for final approval.

other sports Updated: Sep 06, 2016 18:36 IST
Leslie Xavier
The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) is hopeful that UWW will consider the aggregate technical points scored by the wrestlers during the competition in London. That will give Dutt the edge over Coleman.
The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) is hopeful that UWW will consider the aggregate technical points scored by the wrestlers during the competition in London. That will give Dutt the edge over Coleman.(PTI Photo)

UPDATE: The United World Wrestling confirmed on Tuesday that Toghrul Asgarov of Azerbaijan was never in violation of UWW’s anti-doping policy.

Yogeshwar Dutt’s London Olympics medal upgrade—be it to gold or silver—will take a long time coming as the technical decision has to be made by United World Wrestling (UWW), the sport’s global governing body, before it forwards the decision to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for final approval.

The time frame could be anywhere between a month to three, or maybe more. But since we are talking about the 2012 Games, a few more months of wait won’t make much of a difference. However, the matter of concern is the colour of the medal the Indian will end up winning.

Read | More than a silver lining: Yogeshwar’s 2012 Games medal may turn to gold

It is going to be a complicated affair as sources say (official confirmation is still pending) both the gold and silver medallists of the 60kg freestyle category — Toghrul Asgarov of Azerbaijan and Besik Kudukhov of Russia — have tested positive in the reanalysis of the samples collected from the wrestlers in 2012. The reanalysis was conducted by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the IOC as part of their retrospective dope testing programme.

So, Dutt and Scott Coleman of the USA, who were the bronze medallists in the category, would be upgraded to the top two spots but it all depends on which rule the UWW will base its decision on.

The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) is hopeful that UWW will consider the aggregate technical points scored by the wrestlers during the competition in London to rank them. That will give Dutt an edge over Coleman.

Read | Technical numbers favour Yogeshwar for gold, but for grey area in rules: Experts

“There is no way we can find out who is the better wrestler of the two,” said VN Prasood, secretary general of the WFI. “So the only way to sort this out is for the UWW to go by the ranking system and award the medal to the wrestler who has scored the most number of technical points in his bronze medal match. But then, we haven’t got any official confirmation about anything from the global body and so all we can do is speculate.”

The Americans, naturally, feel differently. Brandon Slay, the US freestyle assistant coach, feels Coleman would be elevated to gold as he won bronze coming up from the bracket of Asgarov. Coleman lost to the Azerbaijan wrestler in the semi-finals and won his repechage bout against Kenichi Yumoto of Japan 2-1 (0-1, 3-0, 3-1) to win bronze.

Dutt on the other hand lost to Kudukhov in the pre-quarterfinals and then fought two bouts before beating Ri Jong-Myong of North Korea via technical superiority in the final period of the bronze play-off, winning 2-1 (0-1, 1-0, 6-0). Dutt (7-1) has an aggregate technical points advantage over Coleman (6-2).

During his wrestling days, Slay had benefitted in a similar fashion. He was the original silver medallist in the 76kg category at the Sydney Olympics and was elevated to gold after the winner, Alexander Leipold of Germany, tested positive. But the current case is different as both top medallists have, reportedly, been caught. It is an unprecedented situation for UWW, not to mention the bad reputation the episode will bring to the sport.

That’s possibly the reason why USA Wrestling used diplomacy while answering HT’s query on the situation.

“I really can’t tell you how that will sort out,” said Gary Abbott, director of communications & special projects of USA Wrestling. “If both finalists lose their medals, there was no match during the 2012 Olympic Games between bronze medallists Scott Coleman of the USA and Yogeshwar Dutt of India, as they were on different sides of the bracket. UWW and the IOC will need to work on this. I don’t think this situation has ever occurred. Anything we discuss (either total points or who beat who) will have to go through a decision process. We would just be speculating.”

Meanwhile, the Russian wrestling fraternity is hoping Kudukhov’s medal won’t be taken away as the wrestler had died in a car crash in 2013.

In any case, the WADA or the IOC is yet to send out an official confirmation on the positive dope tests. So the arguments — in support of Dutt or Coleman — can wait. A long wait, from the looks of it.

Read more:

Let deceased Russian wrestler’s family keep silver medal: Yogeshwar Dutt