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Russian female wrestler wants justice after being hit in face

MOSCOW: Olympic wrestler Inna Trazhukova is seeking justice after being hit in the face by the president of the Russian wrestling federation after missing out on a medal in Rio, her lawyer said on Monday.
The 25-year-old athlete claims that wrestling chief Mikhail Mamiashvili struck her twice in front of her teammates and foreign Olympic delegations after she lost her bronze medal match to Poland’s Monika Ewa Michalik in Brazil.
She has already appealed to Russia’s prosecutor general to probe the assault and her lawyer Sirazhutdin Atayev said he was set to send an appeal to the Russian sports minister calling for the protection of athletes’ rights.
“She considers that Mr. Mamiashvili insulted her honour and dignity,” Atayev told AFP.
“She is asking that legal measures be taken against him.”
The incident sparked a wave of indignation in Russian sports circles but many remain convinced that Mamiashvili — an establishment sports official with long-standing ties with the Kremlin — will emerge unscathed.
Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko has backed Trazhukova, but has not hinted that authorities could take disciplinary measures against Mamiashvili.
“I respect Mikhail Mamiashvili, he really improved the federation,” Mutko said during a Saturday morning talk show on Russia’s Match TV.
“But I can’t agree with him. Maybe he’s emotional, but he can’t do that. I support the athlete.”
Trazhukova has appealed to witnesses of the incident, but many have declined to come forward.
Mamiashvili, a three-time world Greco-Roman wrestling champion who won gold at the 1988 Seoul Games, has been the president of the Russian wrestling federation since 1997. He also serves on the executive committee of United World Wrestling.
He reportedly has been linked with organised crime groups and has been refused entry into a number of Western countries, including Finland and the United States.
Mamiashvili told Sports Express that he had been angered by Trazhukova’s “indifferent” performance in Rio, which he said constituted a form of treason against the country.
“What was I supposed to do with her? Ignore her indifference and apathy?” he said. “Find comforting words? For whom? She should have stayed home or say that she will betray us.”
Mamiashvili later said he was ready to apologise over the incident, but Trazukova says the federation head has yet to acknowledge having hit her, nor regretted calling her a traitor.
“I am ready to bear responsibility for the shortcomings on the mat and listen to fair criticism,” Trazhukova wrote in an open letter.
“But I will still never be able to agree with being branded a traitor of the Motherland.” AFP