Australian wrestler Hassene Fkiri has been stripped of the silver medal in the 96kg Greco-Roman class at the Commonwealth Games.
Tunisian-born Fkiri, aged 36, was disqualified during his bout for making a rude gesture to international wrestling officials after losing the fight to India’s Anil Kumar at the Indira Gandhi Complex in Delhi.
The Australian looked frustrated during the bout, at one point trying to slap and headbutt his local rival before eventually ‘giving the finger’ to international wrestling officials.
Australian coach Kuldi Bassi said: “The Indian (Kumar) upset him a bit and was pulling his neck. I told him that was what was going to happen and I think he just lost control. It’s very sad and it’s bad for the country.”
An official told AFP the Australian was given his marching orders as he made the rude gesture, but may have been disqualified for a third “throat infringement” seconds earlier as he was losing 6-0.
India’s wrestlers scored crushing victories in every weight category to win three golds on the opening day of their Commonwealth Games campaign.
Ravinder Singh, Sanjay and Anil Kumar produced ruthless displays in the Greco-Roman division at the Indira Gandhi sports complex, beating their final opponents without conceding a single point between them.
Crowd favourite Singh brought the house down with India’s first gold, seeing off Terrence Bosson of England in the final of the men’s 60kg category.
“This event was introduced for the first time at these Games and I’m the first Indian who won gold in it,” said Singh, who said the crowd, which numbered just a few hundred inside the 7,000-capacity venue, were a “huge support”.
“There was no pressure as I was performing in front of my home crowd,” he added.
Sanjay, who goes by just one name, won the men’s 74kg, beating Richard Addinall of South Africa to pick up his country’s second gold.
“From the bottom of my heart, I’m really happy,” Sanjay said. “This has always been my dream. I’m thankful to my coach and to my parents. I’d like to dedicate this gold medal to my countrymen.”
Sanjay described Addinall as a “really tough” opponent after winning the bout 2-0, adding: “He hit me really hard.”
India completed their clean sweep when Kumar beat Australia’s Hassene Fkiri in the controversial 96kg final.
Kumar said: “I’m really glad that I did something for my country.”
The victories were a welcome boon for Indian wrestling, which has been mired in a drugs scandal which sent shockwaves through the team’s training camp.
The team was plunged into controversy after four wrestlers including gold prospect Rajiv Tomar failed dope tests and were suspended earlier this month.
Posterboy Sushil Kumar, a national star after winning the world 66kg category in Moscow, is expected to be a big draw when he first steps on the mat on Sunday.
Gurdial Singh Mander, president of the Indian Wrestling Federation, predicted Kumar would lead India to a haul of at least half the Commonwealth Games gold medals available.