DAYS after he returned home from a disappointing performance at the Olympic Games in Rio, where he lost in the qualification round, Indian wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt may be in for a pleasant surprise. The bronze medal that he won in the 2012 London Olympics is set to be upgraded to silver.
The unexpected upgrade has been triggered by a positive dope test of the silver winner in the 60-kg freestyle event in London – Russia’s Besik Kudukhov.
Kudukhov died in a car accident at the age of 27 in Russia in 2013. However, ahead of the Rio Games this month, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) re-tested the four-time world champion’s sample, which was collected during the London Games. The re-test was part of standard practice, with samples now stored for up to 10 years to allow the use of advanced testing methods to weed out dope cheats.
“The samples of five wrestlers, including Russia’s Besik Kudukhov (60 kg) and Uzbekistan’s Artur Taymazov’s (120 kg), have tested positive for banned substances. Kudukhov failed a dope test in re-tests of samples collected during the London Games. In Taymazov’s case, the re-tests date back to samples collected from the Beijing Games (2008). Kudukhov is a silver medallist and Taymazon a gold-medal winner. They will lose their medals. With Kudukhov testing positive, Yogeshwar Dutt of India will get the silver,” sources in United World Wrestling (UWW), the governing body, told The Indian Express.
Once the upgrade is officially announced, Yogeshwar will join wrestler Sushil Kumar and shooter Vijay Kumar as silver-medallists for India from the London Games. When contacted by The Indian Express, Yogeshwar said he did not wish to comment at this stage.
In London, Yogeshwar had lost his pre-quarterfinal bout to Kudukhov. When the Russian wrestler reached the final, Yogeshwar got another opportunity for a podium finish in the repechage round – he defeated Franklin Gomez of Puerto Rico, Masoud Esmaeilpour of Iran and Ri Jong-myong of North Korea to claim bronze.
So far, only five wrestlers have tested positive in the re-tests, said UWW sources. The deadline for re-tests was eight years from the collection of samples, before the IOC extended it by two years in 2015.