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WRESTLING

CAS doesn't drop it, sides with Swede

August 24, 2008
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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 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.

Abrahamian's coach was then denied a request for a video review, then the wrestling federation - FILA - refused to consider a protest.

The 28-year-old Abrahamian had to be restrained from going after matside officials following his loss. 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 dropped it in disgust. 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 on a disputed call - initially wanted judges in the bout tossed out and his medal restored. But in the end, he wanted CAS to verify that the lack of an immediate appeals process is a loophole that needs to be fixed. CAS judges said Abrahamian was right, stating FILA must "establish . . . a jury of appeal to determine the validity or otherwise of complaints of the kind ventilated by [Abrahamian]." (AP)

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