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Debate

Is the Russian Federation's 2024 Olympics decision a death blow to wrestling's integrity?

The Russian Wrestling Federation had two options – go with the qualified wrestlers for the Paris Olympics or bow out of the upcoming contest in the French capital. The Russian squad already lost a few big names due to the IOC and UWW’s restrictions over Moscow’s military offensive on Ukraine. Remember Abdulrashid Sadulaev? Let us help you a bit. He is widely considered the most dominant freestyle wrestling phenom ever. He has maintained that recognition for quite a few years, with two consecutive Olympic gold medals and five world championship golds. But the 28-year-old faced exclusion this year due to the imposed restrictions. The reigning 74-kg Olympic champion Zaurbek Sidakov faced the same fate. So, what options are left for the RWF?

Too many things, maybe! At the very least, they would have to consolidate the wrestling events where they held Olympic titles from Tokyo. But now, everything has crumbled as the RWF drew an ending line.

Russian Wrestling Federation is not ready to go with limited options

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As the latest update shows, the Russian Wrestling Federation has decided not to send wrestlers to the Paris Olympics. However, they had an invitation from the IOC to send wrestlers to Paris under a neutral banner. In fact, despite facing restrictions and sanctions, the Russian wrestlers won 16 out of 18 Olympic quotas last month. Initially, the federation announced that 10 Russian wrestlers were prepared to head to the Paris Olympics. But now, the update indicates that the RWF is not ready to send those wrestlers, having reached this unanimous decision after a thorough discussion.

On a further explanation, RWF’s president Mikhail Mamiashvili has displayed his anger with the IOC’s guidelines when it came to showing the green flag to Russian wrestlers. In his conversation with TASS, a Russian state-owned news agency, Mikhail said, “The unreasonable dictum from the International Olympic Committee has led this organization to define the athletes lineups, this [decision] is already too much.” Notably, the team that RWF made last month for the Paris Olympics was nowhere close to the actual Russian wrestling team, consisting of Zaurbek Sidakov, Abdulrashid Sadulaev, and Zaur Uguev. 

Rather, 6 of the 10 current Russian wrestling team members were far from being in a position to lead the team. Therefore, the chances of achieving the same level of success in Paris were slim. Still, the latest decision has stirred the wrestling community once again, leaving several fans divided.

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As one fan has put a reaction stating, “Terrible for the sport. Let Russia compete.” Such a comment defines the wrestling supremacy Russia has created over the years. However, several have argued that the same Russian wrestling faced suspension in the past because of the anti-doping prohibitions. 

Russian wrestling faces a dark day amid doping scandal

In 2019, the Russian Federation was handed a ban order from the World Anti-Doping Agency for four years. The reason was the state-sponsored doping scandal. Notably, last year, nine Russian wrestlers attracted a ban order from the International Testing Agency for anti-doping rule violations. Therefore, several fans have indicated that these incidents have put a blemish on the wrestling sport.

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Noting that one fan has claimed, “It’s time for Authentic Professional Wrestling show!” But, the ten eligible Russian wrestlers had to go through a stringent test process. Yet that couldn’t pacify certain fans as they have continued to add, “Probably afraid of defections.” Still, by all means, this day could be counted as the dark day as one of the prominent wrestling nations has decided to stay away from the biggest game. 

Reflecting that, one follower has added, “its sad that athletes have to suffer the consequences… They have the best wrestlers in the world, it won’t be the same”. Nobody knows about the future now. But sadly, it is the end of the road for several wrestling names to appear in the 2024 Paris Olympics.