Asian Games: Indian boxer facing action over medal snub
INCHEON — Indian boxer Sarita Devi was facing the prospect of disciplinary action Thursday after she refused a medal at the Asian Games, as organizers called for “fair play” following a series of controversies.
Boxing’s world body opened a case against Devi, 32, after she rejected her bronze medal and condemned judges over a controversial semi-final loss to South Korea’s Park Ji-Na.
“The whole incident looked like a well-planned scenario by her and her team,” AIBA technical delegate in Incheon David Francis said in a statement.
Son Cheon-Taik, the sports deputy secretary general of the Games organizing committee, said Devi’s decision to refuse the medal was against the spirit of the event.
But he also said organizers had written to the Amateur International Boxing Association (AIBA) after controversies involving India and Mongolia, among others.
“I have written a formal letter to AIBA requesting they ensure fair play in the boxing competition,” he told reporters.
“If India and Mongolia are dissatisfied and file a formal complaint the OCA (Olympic Council of Asia) will investigate and take the appropriate actions.”
At an extraordinary podium ceremony on Wednesday, Devi snubbed the medal and instead hung it around the neck of her South Korean opponent.
The row has reverberated in India, with sports minister Sarbananda Sonowal demanding urgent answers from the Indian Olympic Association (IOA).
“We have sought a report from IOA on Sarita’s case,” Sonowal told reporters in New Delhi on Wednesday night. “Let them give a detailed report and we will take further steps.”
Members of India’s delegation in Incheon said they have been instructed not comment to further on the matter.
Park’s win on Tuesday sparked scuffles and a foul-mouthed tirade from Devi’s husband, while the Indian camp had to borrow money from a journalist to find the $500 they needed to pay for a protest.
Before the controversy, Indian middleweight Vikas Krishan had already slammed the new scoring system which is in use at the Games.
“Boxing has gone into regression. The scoring is the biggest problem we have,” Krishan said after winning a unanimous points decision Monday.
Mongolia also lodged a formal protest after male bantamweight Tugstsogt Nyambayar contentiously lost a decision against South Korea’s Ham Sang-Myeong on Tuesday.
Thailand flyweight Sopida Satumrum was left in tears after her controversial defeat to Si Haijuan of China on Saturday.
“If I had lost because I couldn’t really box, I would have accepted it,” said a sobbing Sopida.
And a report said the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) executive director Ed Picson also expressed concerns.
Picson said he had considered making a complaint after flyweight Ian Clark Bautista’s hotly disputed loss to South Korea’s Choe Sang-Don on Saturday.
The Korean had taken a standing count in the third and was visibly dazed yet still won the round on two of the three judges’ scorecards.
The drama at Wednesday’s medal ceremony overshadowed boxing glory for India’s five-time world champion Mary Kom, who won her first Asian Games gold.
India’s Krishan goes for a place in the middleweight final later Thursday.
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