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Yogeshwar defeater's celebration turns to ugly protest after bizarre bronze medal loss in wrestling

Tanuj Kar
ANALYST
News
22 Aug 2016, 03:26 IST
Ganzorig's coaches react after the judges announced that Uzbekistan's Ikhtiyor Navruzov won following a video replay in their men's 65kg freestyle bronze medal match.

Over sixteen action-packed days of the Games of the XXXI Olympiad in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro, the world audience has witnessed some unforgettable moments occur during the course of all 306 events contested across 28 sports. Among all the positives and negatives that unfolded throughout the 2016 chapter of the Summer Games, a final day fiasco involving Mongolian wrestler Mandakhnaran Ganzorig and his team of coaches in the Bronze medal bout of Men’s 65 kg Freestyle wrestling left everyone, officials and spectators alike, bewildered inside Rio’s Carioca Arena 2.

To flag off the wrestling programme for Day 16, Mandakhnaran had faced India’s Yogeshwar Dutt in the Round of 32 of their category and sent him packing, with a convincing 3-0 scoreline. A quarter-final loss to eventual gold medallist Soslan Ramonov of Russia enabled him to fight for bronze through Repechage Round 2. An easy victory over Canada’s Haislan Garcia brought Ganzorig face to face with Uzbek grappler Ikhtiyor Navruzov for a shot at bronze.

As the game approached its finishing stages, the Mongolian accomplished a late surge to get back even with Navruzov on six points, followed by a failed challenge by the latter that awarded Ganzorig another penalty point to take him 7-6 ahead with less than ten seconds left on the clock.

Brimming with jubilation at the secured bronze medal, Ganzorig leapt in joy even as the man-in-blue fought a lost battle for the last three seconds, reaching for him in despair. As the hooter blew to signal full-time, Ganzorig was joined by his coaches Byambarenchin Bayoraa and Tsenrenbataar Tsostbayar to celebrate the Olympic bronze they’d just clinched.

Mongolia's Mandakhnaran Ganzorig (red) celebrates as he believes he has won against Uzbekistan's Ikhtiyor Navruzov in their men's 65kg freestyle bronze medal match on August 21, 2016, during the wrestling event of the 2016 Olympic Games at the Carioca Arena 2 in Rio de Janeiro.

What transpired in the following moments was so ridiculous that it got the Brazilian crowd roaring from the stands in disapproval. The Uzbek was awarded a penalty point for Ganzorig’s evasive antics towards the end which took the scores to 7 each, but handed the match to Navruzov as per the tie-break rules that favour the wrestler who picked up the last point of the match.

As the realisation dawned, Ganzorig lay sobbing on the floor mat, shell-shocked at the outcome. Bayoraa darted across to the umpires’ desk, stripped off his shirt and shoes and hurled them towards the officials urging them to overturn their decision. Tsostbayar, who had initially tried to pacify his partner, too went berserk, and removed everything but his underwear as he stood yelling before the judges’ table.

None of the Mongolian protests yielded fruit as Navruzov was declared the winner. Security personnel then escorted Ganzorig’s coaches off the centre amidst loud cheers for the Mongolian team, while the tearful wrestler himself refused to be a part of the referee’s formal announcement.

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