Olga Butkevych © Action Images

Wrestling boss slams GB

The president of wrestling's international governing body said British Wrestling "sucked" and accused it of "doing nothing" after their lone women's competitor at the Olympics lost in the first round.

UKraine-born Olga Butkevych saw her Games last just a matter of minutes before she was beaten in the 55kg women's freestyle class on Thursday.

British Wrestling was already in the firing line after failing to fill two of its three allocated Games spots when two wrestlers under-performed in qualification.

The selection of Butkevych, who only gained British citizenship a matter of months before the Games, was highly controversial as she'd originally come to Britain as a sparring partner for native wrestlers, with officials insisting she would not compete at London 2012.

Her inclusion led to accusations she was a "plastic Brit" and Raphael Martinetti, president of international federation FILA, was scathing in his criticism of British Wrestling on Friday.

"The British team actually managed to do nothing," the Swiss said.

"Three places were awarded to Great Britain but they decided to keep only one so we decided to give the other places to other federations.

"Who is to blame? Great Britain? Someone else? The federation? I am not sure, but what I can tell you is that they absolutely sucked and you can write that down," Martinetti insisted.

Meanwhile the FILA boss encouraged the Islamic Republic of Iran, one of wrestling's powerhouse nations, to open the sport up to women.

"Women's wrestling is available in all countries except for Iran," Martinetti said. "Iran seems to be the last one not to have women's wrestling.

"Wrestling is the main sport in Iran. I am not the one who can change the politics in this country but I am definitely open to discussing the possibility of having female athletes with the Iranian federation.

"We are definitely open to offering headguards for women or longer dresses or garments for them. I have always been open to talking to them about this but it seems the discussion has never taken place."

Martinetti added his ambition was for wrestling to increase its global strength in depth.

"My dream would be to have wrestlers from 18 different countries winning the 18 gold medals in the wrestling events, but I dream quite a bit."


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