MOSCOW, July 14. /TASS/. Russian freestyle wrestler Bilyal Makhov will be awarded the gold medal from the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, the press service of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced on Tuesday.
Russia’s Makhov and Iranian wrestler Komeil Ghasemi won the bronze medals at the 2012 Olympics in men’s freestyle wrestling in the under-120 kg category. The gold and silver medals at that time went to Uzbekistan’s Artur Taimazov and Georgia’s Davit Modzmanashvili respectively.
However, both Taimazov and Modzmanishivili were disqualified last year after retesting positive for banned performance enhancing substances. This unprecedented event shook up the wrestling world, sparking a major change.
In a first for Olympic wrestling, two gold medals in one category will be awarded namely to Russia’s Makhov and Iran’s Ghasemi.
For the wrestling world this is an unparalleled event, where gold and silver medals winners in the same weight category were stripped of their titles and the two golds were later awarded to third-place winners.
Reached by a TASS correspondent, Mikhail Mamiashvili, the president of the Russian Wrestling Federation (RWF), welcomed the final decision of the IOC to award the gold medal to Makhov saying it was "an unbiased decision."
"This was not a single-day procedure and numerous arguments were on the table," Mamiashvili told TASS. "Bilyal [Makhov] has faced all challenges with dignity and patience and it all resulted in this deserved award."
"The most important here is the International Olympic Committee’s unbiased and pragmatic decision, which was not an easy one to make," the RWF president said.
The 32-year-old Russian heavyweight wrestler is a three-time World Champion in freestyle wrestling (2007, 2009, and 2010) on top of his silver and bronze medals from the World Championships in 2011 and 2015 respectively.
The 32-year-old Russian heavyweight wrestler is the three-time World Champion in freestyle wrestling (2007, 2009, and 2010) on top of his silver and bronze medals from the World Championships in 2011 and 2015 respectively.
Mamiashvili also said that the official awarding ceremony of Makhov’s gold medal should be expected after the COVID-19 pandemic is over.
"This is a big-time event for our family of wrestlers and for the Russian sports in general," he said. "We are under the self-isolation regime nowadays and it will be wise to wait until the situation straightens out so we can organize this event as decently as possible."
In late December 2019, Chinese officials notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about the outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, in central China. Since then, cases of the novel coronavirus - named COVID-19 by the WHO - have been reported in every corner of the globe, including Russia.
On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. According to the latest statistics, over 13,267,200 people have been infected worldwide and more than 576,300 deaths have been reported. In addition, so far, over 7,733,000 individuals have recovered from the illness across the globe.
To date, 739,947 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Russia, with 512,825 patients having recovered from the disease. Russia’s latest data indicates 11,614 fatalities nationwide. Earlier, the Russian government set up an Internet hotline to keep the public updated on the coronavirus situation.