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Asian Games boxing: Controversy shrouds Sarita’s shock defeat

Every time Sarita Devi came out with a flurry of punches, which was quite often at the Seonhak Gymnasium here on Tuesday, Korean Park Jina’s head shook under the impact.

A multiple Asian champion, Sarita frequently cornered her opponent and handed out her special treatment in the women’s lightweight boxing semifinal of the 17th Asian Games.

And when the bell rang after the final round, Sarita, clearly satisfied with her show, almost raised her hands in triumph. But there was a big shock waiting for her.

The host’s Park, who had received a hammering from Sarita, was declared the winner and by a unaminous 3-0 margin too!

Mary Kom in final

Sarita’s controversial verdict came a few minutes after Olympic bronze medalist Mary Kom defeated Vietnam’s Li Thi Bang in an unanimous verdict and entered the women’s flyweight final.

Crowd displeased

Sarita and the crowd looked stunned after her bout. She looked at the officials, then came to the ropes and looked around. The crowd jeered at the jury’s verdict.

“I feel very cheated,” said the 32-year-old from Manipur. “I hope this doesn’t happen to any other boxer. I hope the AIBA and other boxing officials do something about things like this.”

“If they wanted to award the bout to her, then why allow us to fight in the first place," she added.

Sandhu shocked

Boxing coaches G.S. Sandhu and Dhayal Sagar appeared shocked too but helpless.

“It should have been an easy 3-0 verdict in Sarita’s favour, shocking,” said chief coach G.S. Sandhu.

Even Vietnamese boxer Luu Thi Duyen, who was also fighting in Sarita’s 57-60kg weight category, appeared surprised with the judges decision.

“The Korean girl’s head was going up and down when Sarita came up with four or five quick punches repeatedly, I thought Sarita should have won easily,” she said.

Anger and disgust

India’s Cuban boxing coach Blas Iglesius Fernandez was furious. “You find out, there could be something more behind this,” he said.

“It was a totally clear bout, everybody saw who the winner was. Only dishonest people can give a verdict like this. I hope all the jury members who gave this decision are thrown out of boxing.”

And with Sarita’s husband Thoiba Singh blasting the judges and trying to shake off the security men who tried to control him as he threatened to go near the ring with the boxer in protest, the scene turned ugly. And Sarita was left in tears.

A little later, Mongolia threatened to pull out its boxers after another controversial verdict where Tugstsogy Nyambayar lost to the host’s Ham Sang Myeong.

Mary Kom used her experience to outwit her taller and younger opponent.

Thi Bang’s long limbs offered her a better reach but Mary Kom found her way inside cleverly to throw the punches that mattered.

Pooja Rani, who lost a points verdict against Li Qian in the middleweight semifinal, had to settle for a bronze.

Vikas, Satish Kumar in semifinals

PTI reports

In the men’s section, only Vikas Krishan (middleweight) and Satish Kumar (super heavy) sailed through to the last four, while Devendro (light fly) and Shiva Thapa (bantam) were sent packing.

Thapa, the reigning Asian champion who is ranked third in the world, lost a unanimous points verdict against his Filipino rival Mario Fernandez. Devendro followed was beaten 3-0 by South Korea’s Shin Jonghum.

Split points decision

Satish Kumar, who earned a split (2-1) points verdict against Jordan’s Eishaish Hussein, will meet Ivan Dychko of Kazakstan in the semifinals on October 2.

Vikas, the defending champion, won the battle of southpaws against Hurshidben Normatov of Uzbekistas with a unanimous points verdict.

He meets A. Zhanibek of Kazakhstan on Thursday.

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Printable version | Jul 23, 2021 7:11:35 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/asian-games-boxer-sarita-settles-for-bronze-despite-commanding-performance/article6461530.ece

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