Manoj Kumar (L) of India defends against Thomas Stalker (R) of Great Britain during their round of 16 light-welterweight (64kg) match of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the ExCel Arena in London. AFP/Jack Guez
The ringside view is not so good for Indian boxers in London. Of the seven-member men’s squad, three have fallen to seemingly unfair verdicts.
Manoj Kumar (64kg) is the latest victim of dubious judging. Despite the 26-year-old’s strong comeback on Saturday night against home-crowd backed British rival Thomas Stalker, Kumar was dismayed to see the bout handed 20-16 to the rival.
“It doesn’t look like an Olympic Games but more like a district competition. If it’s Great Britain in the ring, it doesn’t matter who’s against them... there’s lots of cheating, cheating, cheating,” he told local media.
The men's team was seen as a bright prospect for medals at the London Games. Though Beijing Games bronze medalist Vijender Singh and the 49kg powerhouse Devendro Singh are a win away from the podium, the morale in the camp is low -- thanks to a series of verdicts that have left the squad and fans seething.
For Indian boxers, it has been a case of 'heads you lose, tails your opponent wins' in a competition that has seen some appalling decisions.
In amateur boxing bouts, all five judges score each individual round but the points awarded to the boxers are the average of the three judges' combination that are the closest together.
The first blow came after light-heavyweight Sumit Sangwan, who looked a clear winner, lost opening-round bout and the appeal.
Then on August 3, welterweight Vikas Krishan's victory was overturned in favour of US rival Errol Spence, costing him a place in the Olympic quarter-finals.
The AIBA, the world governing body for the sport, told Indian camp there was no scope for a counter-appeal. It dismissed two officials this week for wrongdoing.