Yogeshwar Dutt has made a sporting gesture, and said on Wednesday that he wants wrestler Besik Kudukhov’s family to retain the 2012 London Olympics silver of which the Russian was stripped after testing positive for banned substances.
Yogeshwar had lost to Kudukhov in the pre-quarterfinals of the men’s 60kg freestyle category at the London Olympics in 2012. The Russian went on to reach the final which allowed Yogeshwar to compete in the repechage rounds.
The Haryana grappler defeated Franklin Gomez of Puerto Rico, Masoud Esmaeilpour of Iran and Ri Jong-myong of North Korea in the repechage rounds to claim bronze.
However, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) recently decided to re-test samples from the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2012 Games which returned several positive results.
Kudukhov, who died on December 29, 2013, in a car crash on a federal highway in southern Russia, may now be stripped of his silver medal after his sample also tested positive for a banned substance.
As a result, Yogeshwar’s bronze could now be upgraded to silver. The 33-year-old will now join fellow Haryana wrestler Sushil Kumar as the second Indian silver medalist from the 2012 Olympics.
Yogeshwar however, said that he remembers Kudukhov with respect despite his positive dope test.
"Besik Kudukhov was a great wrestler. The fact that he failed a dope test after his death is really sad. I respect him as a sportsman," is the English rendering of what Yogeshwar wrote in Hindi on his Twitter account.
"If possible, he should be allowed to keep his medal. That will be honourable for his family as well. Human emotions come first for me," he added.
The results however, are yet to be officially confirmed by the United World Wrestling (UWW) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Yogeshwar’s silver medal will only be confirmed when the UWW ratifies it in writing to the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI).
Kudukhov is considered to be one of the greatest icons of modern wrestling.
He was a four-time world champion across two weight divisions and had won gold in every World Championship he competed in from 2007 to 2011.
He burst onto the international stage in sensational style at the age of 20 when he reached the final of the 2006 World Championships in Guangzhou, China.
He also became European Champion in 2007.