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President of the Georgian Wrestling Federation accused of physical assault

By Salome Modebadze
Friday, February 1
A criminal investigation has been launched into President of the Georgian Wrestling Federation (GWF) Luka Kurtanidze's alleged assault of GWF Vice-President Temur Kazarashvili. According to Kazarashvili a verbal dispute between them escalated into physical confrontation.

“As soon as Kurtanidze became the President of the Federation he dismissed all the coaches,” Kazarashvili said, stressing that this decision should have been agreed with the Federation's council. Kazarashvili said he was the only person eligible to sign the order; however, he said his denial to sign irritated Kurtanidze and the latter started shouting at the Vice-President before physically attacking him.

Veteran wrestler Raind Abramishvili also accused Kurtanidze of physical assault. He said Kurtanidze, whom they have chosen with their own goodwill will no longer keep his position. “Because the President of Federation has shown small children how he has beaten the world champion,” Abramishvili stated.

Kurtanidze left the Federation without comments that night; however at a press conference the next day on January 31st, he denied the allegations. Confirming the “misunderstanding” at the Federation he said no physical confrontation had taken a place.

Meanwhile Kazarashvili demanded holding a meeting of the five-member GWF Council to discuss the incident. Kazarashvili said veteran wrestlers, coaches and other sportsmen should decide Kurtanidze’s fate. Coach Nugzar Skhiereli thinks that Kurtanidze should quit the presidency on his own.

Young wrestler Davit Modzmanashvili said “such things happen and may still happen” among the wrestlers. “But this is not an alarming case,” he said explaining that wrestlers usually solve their problems together “as one family.” However, he said the wrestlers now need special psychological assistance from their coaches to prepare for the European Championship.

The statement released by the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs of Georgia reads that the Ministry will mediate the confrontations within the Federation. Encouraging all sides to forget their own interests and ambitions and think about the development of wrestling the Ministry stated they hesitate to make “rapid conclusions” over the recent incident before meeting with all parties involved.

Georgian Dream member Kurtanidze was recently appointed as the Head of Physical Training at Police Academy of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA). In a statement released on Thursday, nine youth NGOs discouraged any kind of violence. Demanding the temporary dismissal of Luka Kurtanidze from the Presidency of the Wrestling Federation the NGOs said the newly appointed Head of Physical Training at the Georgian Police Academy should be an example of how to act for policemen, while he behaved the opposite.

“If the government will not respond to our demainds, we will consider it selective justice and start protesting,” reads the statement. However, Minister of Justice Thea Tsulukiani continues to stress that no selective justice is practiced in Georgia as it was during the former government