TBILISI, DFWatch – A Georgian athlete has returned to London after a dramatic escape, in order to sue his country’s Olympic delegation, saying he has become a victim of “politicized sport”.
Betkil Shukvani, a 23 year old Georgian sportsman, was defeated by Sofiane Milous from France in judo for under 60 kg in elimination round 32. Shukvani claimed the referee was not objective, but his pleas for help to Georgia’s sport minister, who was present, were ignored.
Shukvani believes there was a political reason for this, and is in London to consult with a lawyer, in order to prepare a lawsuit against Georgia’s Olympic delegation.
The story broke when sportsman unexpectedly returned early to Georgia and held a press conference at which he told that had to escape from the Olympic village because he felt threatened by one of the members of the Georgian delegation. A friend from Croatia helped him escape and return to Georgia.
Betkil Shukvani met with the Georgian opposition leader before leaving for the Olympics, took pictures with him and expressed support. At the airport and aboard the plane he was verbally abused for this and told not to support Georgian Dream.
The sports ministry immediately said his accusations were groundless. The ministry also explained that it was not possible to protest the results of his last fight.
Today, the sportsman released a statement saying that he has become victim of “politicized sport”.
“I will fight until the end and will expose the difficult reality which is currently in Georgian sport,” he said.
The Georgian sport delegation yesterday came back to Georgia. The deputy sports minister, Davit Namgalauri ,told Interpressnews that all Betkil Shukvani’s stories are lies.
Namgalauri says that on the day of his defeat, the Georgian delegation expected him to get a medal, but there was nothing more to be done.
“It is understandable, a man was defeated and got upset about it. It also should be said that he wasn’t supporting the other sportsmen, which was a bad sign for us. He was locked in his room and we didn’t disturb him, because we thought he was upset about his defeat.”