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Saturday, August 23, 2008
Officials: Greco-Roman wrestler stripped of medal had right to complain

Associated Press

BEIJING -- It turns out that the Greco-Roman wrestler who was stripped of his bronze medal for dropping it in disgust on the mat had reason for being angry, according to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Ara Abrahamian of Sweden complained to CAS that a penalty in the second round of his 84-kilogram bout on Aug. 14 against Italian Andrea Minguzzi wasn't assessed until after the round ended. Once factored in, Abrahamian automatically lost the match. Minguzzi went on to win the gold medal.
bronze protest
Sweden's Ara Abrahamian dumped his bronze medal in the middle of the wrestling mat during the medal ceremony.

Abrahamian's coach was then denied a request for a video review, then the wrestling federation-the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles, or FILA-refused to consider a protest.

The 28-year-old Abrahamian had to be restrained from going after matside officials following his loss to Minguzzi. He stormed away from the area where interviews are conducted and slammed a door to the dressing rooms.

After he was given his bronze during the medals ceremony, Abrahamian walked off the podium, went over to mat and dropped it in disgust and walked away. On Aug. 15, the International Olympic Committee disqualified Abrahamian and stripped his medal for violating the spirit of fair play during the medal ceremony.

The Armenian-born Abrahamian-who also lost a 2004 Olympic semifinal match on a disputed call-initially wanted judges in the bout tossed out and his medal restored. But in the end, he only wanted CAS to verify that the lack of an immediate appeals process is a loophole that needs to be fixed. It also was referred to as a violation of "the Olympic Charter and FILA's own rules about fair play."

Judges said Abrahamian was right.

"We limit ourselves to ruling that FILA must, consistently with the (Olympic) Charter and general principles of fairness, establish for the future a jury of appeal to determine the validity or otherwise of complaints of the kind ventilated by [Abrahamian]," the judges wrote