Deepak Punia’s Russian coach assaults referee; contract terminated to avert medal loss

What helped India avoiding a potential ban and saving a medal was that Nenad Lalovic, the UWW president, spoke in WFI's favour.

Saurabh Ganguly Author

Updated - 7 August 2021 11:19 am

India was staring at a possibility of losing an Olympic medal along with a penalty imposed on the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) after Deepak Punia's Russian coach Murad Gaidarov allegedly assaulted a referee at the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The referee had officiated in the 86 kg bronze medal bout which Deepak lost to San Marino's Myles Nazim Amine on August 5. However, the national federation was quick to react to the situation and escaped further trouble by immediately terminating the coach's contract.

The United World Wrestling (UWW), which happens to be the world governing body of the sport, had a disciplinary panel meet on Friday and even sought an explanation from the WFI.

"The UWW served a notice to the WFI asking it to attend a disciplinary panel meeting. The panel insisted on taking back the medal and banning the federation for the misconduct of its foreign coach. WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, however, intimated the panel that Murad has been terminated following which it relented," a WFI official was quoted as saying by New Indian Express.

What helped India avoiding a potential ban and saving a medal was that Nenad Lalovic, the UWW president, spoke in WFI's favour. It is being learned that a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was also present in the disciplinary meet.

So far in the sport of wrestling, Ravi Dahiya has already clinched a silver medal for India in the 57kg weight category while Bajrang Punia (65kg) will fight for bronze later on Saturday.

Murad Gaidarov expelled from the Village: IOC Secretary-General

"The IOC mailed us intimating cancellation of the wrestling coach's accreditation. He has been expelled from the Village," Rajeev Mehta, the secretary-general of the Indian Olympic Association, confirmed in a statement.

The WFI had appointed coach Murad in 2019 to train Deepak.

This isn't the first time that Murad finds himself in a controversy. At the Olympic Games in 2004, he had protested and even attacked his opponent after he faced a defeat in the quarterfinal. This has even led to his disqualification from the event.

Murad is likely to reach India on Saturday to collect his belongings before heading to Russia.

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