Asian Games: Fight over boxing decisions, Sarita Devi cries foul
Scuffles broke out before India and Mongolia lodged official protests as controversial decisions in favour of home boxers caused chaotic scenes at the Asian Games in South Korea on Tuesday.Updated: Sep 30, 2014 19:06 IST
Scuffles broke out before India and Mongolia lodged official protests as controversial decisions in favour of home boxers caused chaotic scenes at the Asian Games in South Korea on Tuesday.
The husband of Indian lightweight Sarita Devi launched an expletive-laden tirade and tangled with security after South Korea's Park Ji-Na was controversially awarded their semi-final bout.
And Mongolia's male bantamweight Tugstsogt Nyambayar contentiously lost a decision against Ham Sang-Myeong, prompting a brief sit-in protest and an official complaint.
But the International Boxing Association (AIBA) rejected the protest, saying it was not possible to appeal against judges' decisions.
Later, there was more drama when Indian light flyweight Devendro Singh Laishram battered South Korea's Shin Jong-Hun almost into submission in the final round after controlling most of their fight.
Yet the Korean won the quarter-final with a unanimous points verdict, which was greeted with more loud booing.
Mongolia's chef de mission Badmaanyambuu Bat Erdene called it a "very sad day".
"We want to see fair play in sport," Bat Erdene told AFP.
"For some of these athletes they have only one chance for a gold medal and it has been cruelly taken away from them.".
He refused to confirm whether the team would carry out an earlier threat to withdraw their remaining boxers from the Games.
'You've killed boxing!'
Earlier, Commonwealth Games silver medallist Devi dominated her fight and when Park was given the win, it sparked jeers and a melee which prompted the arrival of police.
"I don't accept this decison. It's wrong," a distraught Devi, told AFP, while her husband Chongtham Thoiba Singh confronted officials screaming: "You've killed boxing!"
He grabbed his wife's arm and tried to lead her in protest back to the ring, where the next bout was already under way, resulting in scuffles as their path was blocked by security.
"Don't tell me it's OK! This is not OK! What the hell is going on here!" Singh shouted at the top of his voice. "She won this fight and you give it to Korea," he yelled.
Police were called into the arena and stood in a cordon between the press area and the ring.
The India team's Cuban coach Blas Iglesias Fernandez called for the judges to be sacked. "I hope all these judges that made this decision are thrown out of the tournament," he said.
Later, Devi was seen leaving the arena wailing and sobbing uncontrollably on her husband's shoulder. Devi did win a bronze, as beaten semi-finalists in boxing both receive a medal.
Demchigjav Zagdsuren, president of the Mongolia National Olympic Commmittee, called for "fair play" at the boxing competition.
"We wish to have fair play and true judging in boxing for the sporting spirit of the games," he said in a statement.
"We have zero tolerance for misjudging in boxing competitions."
The episodes took the gloss off what should have been a glorious day for India in the women's semi-finals.
In the first bout of the day, icon and five-times world champion Mary Kom outpointed Vietnam's Le Thi Bang to erase bitter memories of falling in the last four in both the last Asian Games and Olympic Games.
Kom too was angry at Devi's result. "Of course Park won, because she is Korean," she told Indian TV.
India had a third semi-finalist in the women's middleweight division, but Rani Pooja lost to China's Li Qian on points and will pick up a bronze.
India picked up at least one more medal when middleweight Vikas Krishan beat Hurshidbek Normatov of Uzbekistan easily on points the quarter-finals.
First Published: Sep 30, 2014 18:33 IST