Heartbroken after missing out on what would have been his second successive Olympic medal, star Indian boxer Vijender Singh today said inconsistent judging affected the morale of Indian pugilists who drew a blank at the mega-event in London.
The former middleweight (75kg) world number one, who won India its first Olympic boxing medal in Beijing four years ago, lost in the quarterfinals in London, but felt the performance was better than what transpired in the Chinese capital.
"That's sport, it happens. But I am satisfied that I gave my 100%. There was nothing lacking in the effort that I put in the ring. I don't think there is any shame in losing after you have given it your all," the 26-year-old told PTI from London.
The seven Indian boxers who made the cut for London, were the biggest-ever team from the country to qualify from India.
They were touted as strong medal contenders but all the seven bowed out by the quarterfinal stage in London. It was left to the sole woman representative, M C Mary Kom (51kg), to get a bronze for Indian boxing.
The men were undone by some inconsistent judging which also left many other teams fuming, forcing the International Boxing Association (AIBA) to suspend a couple of judges and overturn the result of two bouts.
Vijender said the team was affected adversely when Sumit Sangwan (81kg) lost a close opening bout and the subsequent appeal against the original decision was rejected.
"At the biggest event of all, such things should not have happened. To my mind, Sumit, Manoj Kumar (64kg) and L Devendro Singh (49kg) had won their bouts but did not get scores. The system was harsh on us and this inconsistent judging affected the team's morale," he said.
"Had the judging been consistent and some close decisions gone our way, the result would have been very different. It is quite heartbreaking but I would say our performance was even better than Beijing," he asserted.