The president of the Wrestling Federation of Russia and one of the most powerful men in international Olympic wrestling says the United States has denied his request for a visa to attend the 2015 world championships that start September 7 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Mikhail Mamiashvili, a personal friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin who also is the vice president of United World Wrestling (UWW) and a bureau member of the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles (FILA), announced the development late on September 6.
Mamiashvili said U.S. officials did not give a reason for the decision.
Georgy Bryusov, vice president of the Russian federation, claimed in a statement that the decision was politically motivated.
Born in Ukraine to a Georgian family, Mamiashvili has been at the center of international wrestling controversies in the past.
At the 2004 Summer Olympics, he was accused by FILA board member Pelle Svensson of giving signs to the referee in a final match involving a Russian wrestler.
Svensson says when he told Mamiashvili he was violating the rules, Mamiashvili responded: “You should know that this may lead to your death.”
Svensson later found evidence that the Romanian referee in the match had been bribed.
Based on reporting by AP, Moscow Times, and Interfax