Swedish wrestler refuses bronze medal

Wrestler Ara Abrahamian took bronze on Thursday in the men's Greco-Roman wrestling competition in Beijing, but the Swede threw his medal away in protest following a highly controversial semi-final defeat.

Swedish wrestler refuses bronze medal

The Swede, who won the silver in the Athens Olympics, grudgingly climbed the podium but stormed off in a huff after receiving his prize, which he left at the centre of the competition mat before stalking off the stage with a raised clenched right fist.

Abrahamian thought he had beaten Andrea Minguzzi, the eventual gold medallist in the 84kg division in the semi-finals, but the match was awarded to the Italian.

A point had been deducted against the Swede late in his semi-final bout which cost him a place in the final.

“My semi-final round loss today was totally unjustified. The controversial ruling shows that FILA (the sport’s governing body International Amateur Wrestling Federation) does not play fair,” the Swede claimed.

Minguzzi said the Swede should not rain on his victory parade, adding: “In sports I think it is appropriate to show sportsmanship and respect the result.”

The Swede came back strongly in the repechages to claim one of the two bronzes alongside Nazmi Avluca of Turkey.

The medal was later returned to the sport’s governing body.

Abrahamian’s win in the bronze match in the 84-kilo division was particularly sweet, as only the day before he almost dropped out of the competition altogether.

Less than one hour before the fight for bronze was due to start, Abrahamian’s coach Leo Mylläri was involved in a heated argument with the judges whom he accused of corruption.

Abrahamian was devastated when he lost the silver medal against Italian policeman Andrea Minguzzi in Wednesday’s semi-final.

According to the Swedish team and Abrahamian’s coach Mylläri, the verdict was unjust. The argument escalated to the point that Mylläri told newspaper Expressen that they were planning to take the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). Abrahamian even threatened to boycott the bronze match and not participate.

But Abrahamian changed his mind and went ahead with the match, winning against the French wrestler Melonin Noumonvi.

Abrahamian’s bronze medal brings the Swedish medal tally to three.

Claudia Rodas/AFP


Sweden remembers popular folk legend

Swedes are paying tribute to one of the Nordic country's most beloved artists and comedians, Robert Broberg, who passed away in the early hours of Tuesday.

Sweden remembers popular folk legend
Swedish artist Robert Broberg. Photo: Gunnar Ask/Pressens bild AB

Robert 'Robban' Broberg died surrounded by his family shortly after midnight on Tuesday. The 75-year-old artist had been battling an unusual form of Parkinson's disease for years.

“He fell asleep peacefully, with the children around him,” his daughter Ane Broberg told Swedish news wire TT.

Born in Solna north of Stockholm in 1940, the singer and guitarist reached his height of popularity in the 1970s and released more than 20 albums during his long career.

Robert Broberg in 1965. Photo: SCANPIX

Many Swedes, young and old, are still able to recite some of Broberg's most famous lyrics by heart – such as cheeky 'Uppblåsbara Barbara' about an inflatable doll and pun-heavy tune 'Båtlåt' about two boats falling in love.

Stars such as opera singer Malena Ernman were among those leading social media tributes to the popular artist on Tuesday.

“One of our greatest,” wrote Ernman of her friend and colleague.

Meanwhile public broadcaster SVT is set to interrupt its usual schedule with an extra tribute on Sunday in memory of the star, who was widely considered to be one of Sweden's foremost lyricists.

“He was so incredibly special. I have never met such a talented artist. I don't want people to associate him with his illness – he was more than that,” his ex-wife Eva Bolin told the Expressen tabloid.