Russia’s gold medal-winning freestyle wrestler Bilyal Makhov has been handed a four-year ban by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) for an anti-doping violation, the agency informed on Thursday. The 34-year-old’s suspension was backdated to Jan 27, 2020. The wrestler has been disqualified after his sample tested positive for a banned substance recently.
The RUSADA spokesperson, upon reached by TASS correspondent, said that Makhov had failed to provide documented explanations about how a banned substance entered his body.
"The athlete stated initially that the banned substance entered his body after taking medical preparations, which were prescribed by his doctor during his medical treatment abroad. However, the athlete failed to provide medical documentation confirming such prescriptions and did not give the names of the medications at the issue," said the spokesperson. He further explained that this was the reason behind the decision taken against Makhov.
Bilyal Makhov’s representative Tigran Avanyan, however, defended the wrestler saying that he had been disqualified because he failed to use his right for the Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) permit.
"Bilyal was tested thousands of times for doping throughout his career and there was never even a hint on a possible doping abuse, but it turned out this time that he was careless and failed to report a medical preparation in his TUE list," said Avanyan. He also added that Makhov will not appeal his four-year disqualification as he has realized his mistake. However, he may try to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Makhov was upgraded from bronze to gold in 2012 Olympics
Bilyal Makhov’s gold medal win was in itself a controversy. Makhov and Iran’s Komeil Ghasemi had won the bronze medals in the 120kg freestyle wrestling while Uzbekistan’s Artur Taimazov and Georgia’s Davit Modzmanashvili had won the gold and silver medal respectively. However, both the medalists were stripped off after the re-analysis of their doping samples in 2019 and the bronze medalists were awarded the historic gold medals.
Talking of Bilyal’s achievements, the 34-year-old Russian has won three World Championships in 2007, 2009, and 2010. He backed his previous performances by winning a silver and bronze medal in the 2011 and 2015 World Championships respectively.