Crestfallen boxer feels cheated after controversial decision denies her a shot at gold
Incheon: Laishram Sarita Devi was smiling and ready to throw her hands up in victory sign as the judges brought the two fighters together before the announcement of the verdict. And then the punch caught her smack in heart, where it hurt most as the referee raised her rival Park Jina's hand instead of her, signaling the Korean as the winner in a fight that was completely dominated by the Indian.
Also Read: Asian Games: Inconsolable Sarita Devi refuses bronze medal
Sarita Devi is being consoled by her husband Thoiba after her semi-final loss yesterday. Pic/PTI
Sarita was inconsolable; her husband Thoiba enraged and the Indian officials helpless, as Park Jina went to prepare for a final, she does not deserve to be in on the evidence of yesterday's fight in the 60kg category. "Today, it seems I wasted two years of my life. I stayed away from my baby, my husband for two years just to concentrate on my boxing. My resolve is broken... I don't think I will be able to return to the ring soon," said Sarita.
"We wuz robbed", is an old saying in boxing and it keeps recurring and yesterday it was Sarita and her husband Thoiba's turn to say it. With the International Boxing Association (AIBA) rules no longer permitting appeal and protests, the weak and already under-pressure (AIBA had suspended Boxing India till its recent elections) Boxing India could do little but shake their collective heads in disbelief.
The Indians did lodge a protest, but it came to a nought. AIBA supervisor David Francis' 'notice of protest evaluation' read: "After review of your protest for the bout between India and Korea, the protest was about judging of the bout. Following our Article 8.4 in the AOB competition rules, you cannot protest against the judges' decisions. Therefore, we would like to inform you that your protest is now rejected."
Setback for Devendro
Later on even as the hurt from Sarita's unfair loss would not go, Devendro Singh, too, got the wrong end of the judges stick and was adjudged loser to Shin Jonghun in the 49kg men's category. Sarita was more stunned than she would have if she had walked into a left hook, while her husband ran towards the judges' table shouting: "You've killed boxing." He was then stopped from entering the ring as the next bout was about to begin.
The police came in to prevent any more incidents, but for Sarita (and Thoiba) the damage was done. In reality Sarita outboxed her rival, but the scoring in the first round itself should have indicated the way things were panning out, as Park Jina was adjudged winner in the first round. As the bout progresses, she had to even re-adjust her headgear twice. Drama elsewhere too Mongolia, too, protested against a decision, but their appeal too came to a nought.