Controversy hit the Asian Games boxing competition after India’s L Sarita Devi (60kg) had to settle for a bronze medal despite dominating her semi-final bout against home favourite Jina Park, in Incheon, on Tuesday.
The Manipuri boxer was left in tears after the judges gave the Korean a 3-0 verdict. The Commonwealth Games silver medalist was clearly the better boxer, as she repeatedly landed a flurry of quicksilver blows on her opponent. At times it rained four to the Korean’s one.
Shockingly, Park was not given a single standing count by the Algerian referee, Hammadi Yakoub Kheira, despite being rocked back by the Indian’s blows to her chin. In the end, all three ringside judges ruled in favour of the Korean by identical 39-37 margins. The ringside judges were Braham Mohamad of Tunisia, Albino Foti of Italy and Mariusz Josef Gorny of Poland.
Immediately after the bout a tearful Sarita broke down while talking to journalists.
“All my hard work has come to naught. It has happened to me, but kindly see that this kind of injustice is not meted out to anyone else in the competition. I request you,” she said, with folded hands. “If they wanted to award the bout to her, then why allow us to fight in the first place,” she added.
“Sarita was a clear-cut winner but money has talked here and the judges deserve to be thrown out. It happened in Seoul during the 1988 Olympic Games; it’s happening now again. Nothing seems to have changed. The new rules have made no difference,” coach, B I Fernandez.
In another boxing event Dovendro Laishram from Manipur was also denied a win by the judges. He lost the quarterfinal bout against Jonghun Shin. South Korea spoil India’s boxing party once again.
Boos once again as Devendro shakes his head in angst despite a spirited effort. Did you know? Devendro and Sarita are cousins! Not a good day in the ring for this family and it is not because of their inabilities at all