MOSCOW (AP) — A two-time wrestling world champion says he is giving up his place at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro after a brawl marred a Russian qualifying tournament.
Viktor Lebedev was competing against Ismail Musukayev in a semifinal bout at the Russian nationals on Friday when Musukayev was angered by refereeing calls against him and shoved Lebedev.
Musukayev’s supporters and coaches charged into the ring, prompting a scuffle that was broken up by riot police. Wrestlers from Musukayev’s home region of Dagestan then boycotted the tournament in protest at the standard of refereeing, causing a nationwide scandal.
Lebedev tells local news outlet News.Ykt that he is withdrawing from the Olympic team as “a matter of honor” because he feels the referees gave him favorable calls in front of his home crowd.
Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.