By Sulayman Bah
Banjul-based wrestler ‘France’ will sit down without wrestling for 24 months after receiving a ban for slapping an arbiter, Foroyaa Sport can reveal.
France, an emerging sensation of the arena, had his otherwise impressive season truncated when he, in a fit of anger, administered a punch on a referee’s face
The incident occurred at the Serrekunda West mini-stadium before hundreds of supporters last month in what was the last undercard fight prior to the start of the occasion’s big combat.
In a contest that lasted nearly twenty-minutes, trouble began after France appeared to have been floored by opponent Sanneh in the final third round.
Prior to this, France had appealed to the referee claiming victory over Sanneh on basis of ‘quart-appui’ (having two hands and two legs on the ground) which he believes the referee overlooked.
So when the referee declared Sanneh winner after a heated clash, France, in exasperation descended on the referee grabbing him by the neck before letting fly a right-hander close range smash in his face.
The referee also appeared to have responded with a blow on France’s face prompting a furious uproar as police let loose on the wrestler with batons before frog-marching him out of the arena where he was later arrested.
The incident provoked a near free-for-all fight between fans and Police Intervention Unit personnel who quickly sought reinforcement to take control of the situation as angry crowd battered the hired arena lights.
France was later taken to under police custody where he spent a close to twenty hours before been bailed.
However, the Gambia Wrestling Association (GWA) has now carried out a sanction having finalized their probing, banning the wrestler for two years and slapping a D20, 000 fine on his club, it has emerged.
A spokesperson of the GWA told Foroyaa Sport yesterday morning: ‘He (France) is banned for two years and his club must pay a fine of D20, 000,’
France’s camp is yet to publicly reply and reserve the right to lodge an appeal.