Dávid Losonczi lost the 87 kg final of the Olympic qualification wrestling world championships in Belgrade in September due to a serious refereeing error, but the United World Wrestling (UWW) has declared him world champion by a unique decision. This means that the 23-year-old Hungarian wrestler will also receive the gold medal alongside his Turkish opponent, who was declared the winner in Belgrade.
The Hungarian Wrestling Federation revealed that Losonczi was deprived of a clear victory in the final, and on the mat the Turkish Ali Cengiz was declared the winner with a score of 8-7. The federation, however, decided to take all possible sporting diplomatic steps because Cengiz was eliminated on the mat, reportsHirado.hu.
They made a formal request for review to the competent body of the UWW to make a professional determination that a seriously flawed judging decision had been made.
There is no concept of protest in the current rules of the sport, hence there was little chance of changing the result, but the UWW did its utmost to appeal.
Finally, on Monday, Nenad Lalović, the Serbian president of UWW, sent an official letter to Szilárd Németh, the president of the Hungarian Wrestling Federation,
informing him that Losonczi was also a world champion.
“The presidency acknowledged that there was a serious refereeing error and changed the result of the match. (…) In view of the above, the UWW Bureau will award two gold medals in this category by exceptional and individual decision, making Dávid Losonczi the 2023 World Champion in the 87 kg weight category. As the final ranking in this category will be changed, the corresponding world ranking points will be awarded to Dávid Losonczi accordingly,” the UWW statement reads.
Losonczi said he had only heard the news a few hours ago, but was relieved.
“I feel satisfied with the decision, I am immensely happy that justice has been done. (…) The truth is, it is hard to comprehend what happened, it is incredible to say I am a world champion. Of course, it is completely different from being on the carpet and running around with the Hungarian flag celebrating my victory,” noted the athlete.
Szilárd Németh, President of the Hungarian Wrestling Federation, stressed that this decision was a great joy for the whole Hungarian wrestling family and for Hungarian sport,
and it is also unique in the sport, as the current rules do not allow for changing the result on the mat.
Péter Bacsa, Executive Vice President of the UWW and member of the UWW Board, who according to the Hungarian federation, “worked a lot in the background for the success,” said that the decision made on Friday was exceptional, with the UWW Board proving that the interests of the athletes and fair competition are more important than hiding mistakes and deflecting responsibility.
The Hungarian Wrestling Federation news highlighted that in the history of the sport there have hardly been any similar decisions.