Mongolia’s Olympic wrestling protest gets public backing

ULAAN BATAAR, Mongolia (AP) — A skin-baring protest by a pair of Mongolian wrestling coaches at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics has struck a chord back home in their landlocked Asian nation.

Mongolian media and the public reacted angrily to the decision to award victory to Uzbekistan’s Ikhtiyor Navruzov over Mongolia’s Mandakhnaran Ganzorig in the 65 kilogram freestyle bronze medal match on Sunday.

The decision prompted the Mongolian coaches to remove their clothes and shoes and throw them to the mat in disgust in front of the officials.

Former freestyle wrestler Nyamjav Baasanjav said Tuesday the referees should have given Mandakhnaran a warning instead of awarding a key penalty point to Navruzov.

Wrestling is one of Mongolia’s traditional sports and followed closely. Stripping is considered an acceptable way of peacefully protesting a decision and the coach’s actions were widely embraced.

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