Current scoring system confusing, says veteran boxing coach GS Sandhu
The Indian boxing fraternity has backed International Olympic Committee’s efforts to clean up the sport and make the scoring system transparent ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
For long, boxing’s scoring system has been under the scanner and Indian boxers too have been at the receiving end of questionable judging. A case in point is L Sarita Devi’s controversial semi-final loss in the 2014 Incheon Asian Games that saw her refuse the bronze medal on the podium and be banned for a year.
The Rio Olympics boxing was hit by corruption allegations and concerns were raised over the role of judges and referees in alleged manipulation of draws and bouts. The sport’s governing body, the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA), has been under fire over issues of governance, financial matters, anti-doping and officiating that has left it facing the risk of exclusion from the Tokyo Olympics.
The IOC, after its executive board meeting on Thursday, maintained a tough posture on the need to improve officiating. “We want to see the refereeing system and the appointment of judges. We want to see this approved by international and independent expertise,” IOC chief Thomas Bach said.
Beijing Olympics bronze medallist Vijender Singh agreed scoring has to improve but felt a ban from 2020 Olympics would be too harsh. “I don’t think boxing will be banned and I am confident things will improve,” Vijender said.
“I do feel there has to be some improvement in the scoring system. Indian boxers are sweating it out to make an impression at world level. Our boxers have raised hopes with their performances at the Commonwealth Games,” he said.
Former national boxing coach Gurbux Singh Sandhu said overhauling the scoring system is one of the key areas that need immediate attention. He said the current system, where the score is displayed only after the bout, is bit confusing and does not engage the spectators. A new scoring system was introduced at the Rio Olympics but that led to more confusion and controversial bouts.
“The previous system of scoring was good as the points used to flash on the screen after every round, indicating which boxer was ahead. It fully engaged the spectators and rival teams. The current system is confusing because sometimes the dominant boxer loses after the result is officially announced,” Sandhu said.
“I feel AIBA needs to come up with a better scoring system. It will enable the federation to win back the trust of IOC as well as the boxing fraternity.”
Sandhu said India has great potential in boxing and banning the sport would harm the country’s medal prospects at the Olympics. “We have the potential to win medals and it will be a big loss if boxing is out of the Olympics. The government only supports events that feature in the Olympics and if the sport is out of Tokyo Games, it will be a big setback.”
Mired in controversies, AIBA has been under IOC scrutiny since last year. IOC has said the boxing world body should appoint all judging officials through an independent panel for the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires later this year.