Mongolian strip act as coaches slam judges' call

Controversy erupts as a coach of Mongolian wrestler Mandakhnaran Ganzorig (kneeling) strips and argues with the tournament referees, who had judged that Ganzorig should lose his bronze-medal match against Uzbekistan's Ikhtiyor Navruzov.
Controversy erupts as a coach of Mongolian wrestler Mandakhnaran Ganzorig (kneeling) strips and argues with the tournament referees, who had judged that Ganzorig should lose his bronze-medal match against Uzbekistan's Ikhtiyor Navruzov.PHOTO: REUTERS

RIO DE JANEIRO • Kyle Snyder of the United States won the last wrestling gold of the Rio Olympics on Sunday, but Mongolia provided the most vivid drama when two of its coaches stripped off in protest at their athlete's defeat in an earlier bout.

Snyder fought and won a cagey, low-scoring contest in the 97kg category against Azerbaijan's Khetag Goziumov, hanging in for a 2-1 win as his opponent pressed hard in the closing seconds.

The controversy, though, came earlier in the 65kg third-place bout when two Mongolian coaches stripped and hurled their shoes in protest after their wrestler Mandakhnaran Ganzorig was denied victory for running away from his Uzbek opponent in the dying seconds.

Ganzorig, who was leading Ikhtiyor Navruzov 7-6, taunted his opponent by dancing around him in the last 18 seconds and was then carried around the ring in triumph by one of his coaches.

But the judges then adjusted the score to 7-7, penalising the Mongolian for "fleeing the hold", or refusing to engage his opponent.

REFS ROBBED OUR COUNTRY

Three million people in Mongolia waited for this bronze and now we have no medal.

BYAMBARENCHIN BAYARAA , Mongolia wrestling coach, on why they staged the protest.


DISRESPECT FOR RIVAL

This cannot happen. I have little respect for him and for his trainer.

IKHTIYOR NAVRUZOV , Uzbek wrestler, on his Mongolian opponent's antics.

They then added a further point to the Uzbek's score after the Mongolian corner challenged the decision and had the challenge rejected.

Ganzorig crouched head down on the mat in disbelief at the reversal, while both his coaches advanced towards the judges, stripped off their shirts and shoes and hurled them onto the floor in rage.

One of them then took off his track pants and remonstrated with the judges wearing nothing but a pair of trunks.

Byambarenchin Bayaraa, another of the Mongolian coaches, told reporters later: "This was a protest. There was a problem with the refereeing.

"Three million people in Mongolia waited for this bronze and now we have no medal."

Navruzov, the winner, celebrated by wrestling his coach to the floor and then kneeling on the mat as if in prayer.

"(Ganzorig) tried to run (away). This cannot happen. I have little respect for him and for his trainer," the Uzbek said.

REUTERS, AGENCE PRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 23, 2016, with the headline 'Mongolian strip act as coaches slam judges' call'. Print Edition | Subscribe