Incheon: In what came as a disappointment for the Indian boxing contingent, its protest against L Sarita Devi’s loss in the Asian Games semifinal was today rejected by the International Boxing Association’s (AIBA) technical committee.
The lightweight boxer was left in tears after she was adjudged to have lost despite a dominating performance against home favourite Jina Park.
The Indian boxing contingent lodged a protest after paying a non-refundable USD 500 fee. However, it ended up being for a lost cause as the AIBA rules bar any complaints against judges and protests can only be filed against decision of the referees.
The 32-year-old Indian had matched Park blow for blow in the opening round and was markedly more aggressive and precise thereafter.
Sarita, a former Asian champion, fell behind after a rather bizarre turn of events in which Park ended up being the judges’ choice despite barely managing to stay in the fight.
Such was the Indian’s ferocity that Park resorted to holding to slow down the pace of the bout after being left with a bloodied nose.
But Sarita’s precision and her brilliant ring craft failed to find favour with the judges in the third and fourth rounds which went to the home favourite, who was struggling to stand up to the onslaught of punches from the Manipuri.
Meanwhile, Sarita found support from India’s long-time Cuban coach B I Fernandes and fellow boxer M C Mary Kom, who advanced to the final.
“It was pre-decided, the 3-0 verdict is a clear cut indication. The Korean deserved to have been given many standing counts, going by what happened in the ring, and the bout should have been stopped,” Fernandes said.
“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,” he fumed.
Mary also expressed her disappointment.
“I am shocked and disappointed. Sarita was the clear winner. This should not have happened,” she said.