Oddly Enough

Chinese grappler gnaws on rival but still advances

BEIJING (Reuters) - A Chinese wrestler was allowed to advance to the next round of a national tournament, despite being slapped with an official conduct warning for biting his opponent while the pair were locked in a clinch.

Alibieke, a freestyle wrestler from the far western Xinjiang region, drew blood from his opponent Yeerlanbieke Katai during the second round of their bout in eastern China, local media reported Thursday.

“Katai let out a bloodcurdling cry and protested to the referee that he had been bitten,” Xinhua news agency said in a report reproduced by the Beijing News.

The match was nonetheless allowed to continue with Alibieke winning 2-0, the paper said.

Katai, who sported a “huge” bite mark near his elbow, said he was in a prime attacking position when the bite occurred.

“If it wasn’t for that, I would have definitely finished that attack and taken the set,” the paper quoted him as saying.

Although organisers gave Alibieke a formal warning and “criticism,” the bite was deemed unintentional and the result allowed to stand.

“Wrestling is an intense sport... Athletes, it can be said, are exerting their all and sometimes are not able to control themselves very well,” said Dong Shenghui, wrestling director within China’s General Administration of Sports.

Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by John O’Brien