Inna Trazhukova made it all the way to the semifinals of the women’s 63-kilogram division in freestyle wrestling before a pair of back-to-back losses on Thursday ended the Russian’s hopes for a medal. But instead of getting consoled for the loss and congratulated for her effort, she says she was hit in the face twice by the president of the Russian Wrestling Federation.
According to Artur Petrosyan of Sport-Express in Russia, the 25-year-old wrestler is planning to take legal action against Mikhail Mamiashvili for the assault.
“At the end of the competition I was met by the drunk president of the federation, Mikhail Mamiashvili,” Trazhukova told Sport-Express, via a Google translation. “He spoke roughly, rude and hit me twice in the face. All this happened in front of witnesses. On arrival in Russia, I plan to write a statement to the prosecutor, as well as to report the incident to the minister of sports of Russia. … I was humiliated in public. I want to stop it so that later athletes do not suffer from it.”
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Mamiashvili, 52, was a gold medal wrestler in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, and inexplicably explained his reason for being angry rather than deny the attack, telling Sport-Express that she was responsible for the loss and didn’t try hard enough.
Two other female Russian wrestlers, Natalia Vorobieva and Valeria Koblova, both won silver medals in Rio, but also received the wrath of Mamiashvili who called them “nobodies” on Russian television for showing a “lack of will” to fight for gold.
The culture of athletics in Russia has come under fire in 2016 because of multiple scandals, including a state-sponsored doping ring that nearly resulted in the ban of all of the country’s Olympic athletes. More than 100 Russian athletes were banned from the 2016 Olympics, but all 17 wrestlers were cleared to compete, including Viktor Lebedev who was originally barred from competing for a failed test in 2006.
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When Russian hooligans at the Euro 2016 wreaked so much havoc in June that the governing body threatened to disqualify the country, a Russian soccer executive tweeted that there’s nothing wrong with fans fighting. “Quite the opposite, well done lads, keep it up!”
But condoning fights between fans pales in comparison to the head of a country’s sport federation assaulting a female athlete for coming up short in competition.
Trazhukova is a two-time Russian national champion and won a bronze medal at the 2016 European Wrestling Championships in March.
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