January 16, 2019

Australian Wrestler loses silver medal for rude gesture

Nah mate I am not going to shake your hand. Today I only give the one finger.

Australian wrestler Hassene Fkiri lost his temper during the gold medal bout in the 96kg Greco-Roman class at the Commonwealth Games.

The Tunisian-born Fkiri, 36, was disqualified midway through the bout against India’s Anil Kumar at the Indira Gandhi Complex in Delhi. By all accounts Kumar had been indulging in some borderline tactics that were not getting picked up by the judges.

The Australian got more and more frustrated during the bout, at one point trying to slap and headbutt the Indian before eventually giving the universal finger to international wrestling officials.

Australian wrestling team manager Kuldip Bassi said Fkiri lost his temper and was completely devastated by the outcome.

“He was really upset and he said he lost control, he pointed the finger towards FILA people, which is the worldwide organisation.

“I asked him, ‘Did you do it?’ and he said yes he did. So that’s the end of the story, you can’t do anything more than that.

This story is refreshing on a whole lot of different levels. Fkiri has paid a high price for losing his cool, but there are sportsman the world over who would love to have done what he did.

Judges who sit there in their blazers and cast judgement as if they are some kind of infallible god often deserve to receive the salute that Fkiri gave them. They don’t normally get it because they know as do the competitors that disqualification is the inevitable result.

So well done Fkiri for striking a blow for sportspeople everywhere who have got a raw deal from officials.

It is also fantastic that Fkiri openly admitted his crime. All too often sportspeople are seeking to blame someone or something for their mistake. Fkiri could have said he wasn’t hugged enough as a child, or someone spiked his drink and it made him go crazy. He could have said that his opponent was cheating all the time and the judges were not calling it. He could even have said that the finger salute is a gesture of affection in his native Tunisia.

Bassi said Kumar had provoked Fkiri by pulling his neck during the bout. “This is a tactic of wrestling, I told him before he went on that’s what’s is going to happen and just be calm.” Poor Fkiri did not heed his advice.