By Mark Trevelyan
RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Two Mongolian coaches stripped off and hurled their shoes in protest on Sunday after their wrestler Mandakhnaran Ganzorig was denied victory for running away from his Uzbek opponent in the dying seconds of their bronze medal contest.
Ganzorig, leading Ikhtiyor Navruzov by seven points to six, taunted his opponent by dancing around him in the last 18 seconds of their 65kg match and was then carried around the ring in triumph by one of his coaches.
But the judges then adjusted the score to 7-7, penalizing the Mongolian for ‘fleeing the hold’, or refusing to engage with his opponent. 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 as both coaches advanced toward the judges, stripped off their shirts and shoes and hurled them to the floor.
With the crowd erupting, one of them then took off his track pants and remonstrated with the judges wearing nothing but a pair of trunks.
One of the coaches, Byambarenchin Bayaraa, told reporters later: “This was a protest. There was a problem with the refereeing… Three million people in Mongolia waited for this bronze medal and now we have no medal.”
Navruzov, the victor, celebrated by wrestling his coach to the floor and then kneeling on the mat as if in prayer.
“He tried to run (away). This cannot happen. I have little respect for him and for his trainer,” the Uzbek said.
(Reporting by Mark Trevelyan; Editing by Bill Rigby)