Boxing row prompts ‘fair play’ warning

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Bronze medalist Luu Thi Duyen (left) of Vietnam urges India’s Laishram Sarita Devi to go on to the podium on Wednesday after she decided to refuse to accept her bronze medal during the women’s lightweight (57-60kg) boxing awards ceremony during the 17th Asian Games in Incheon. AFP PHOTO

Bronze medalist Luu Thi Duyen (left) of Vietnam urges India’s Laishram Sarita Devi to go on to the podium on Wednesday after she decided to refuse to accept her bronze medal during the women’s lightweight (57-60kg) boxing awards ceremony during the 17th Asian Games in Incheon. AFP PHOTO

INCHEON, South Korea: Asian Games organizers on Thursday urged boxing’s world body to “ensure fair play” after an Indian fighter tearfully refused her bronze medal in a row over judging.

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Son Cheon-Taik, the sports deputy secretary general of the Games organizing committee, said Sarita 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.

“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.”

Devi, who believed she was unfairly judged to have lost her semi-final against Park Ji-Na, snubbed the medal and hung it around the neck of her South Korean opponent.

The Commonwealth Games silver medalist, 32, is now facing disciplinary proceedings after AIBA opened a case against her.

Son said: “The athlete has the responsibility to accept the result of the game as is, you have to respect the outcome of the game.

“For her to refuse the medal was against the spirit of sportsmanship.”

The row has caused outrage in India, prompting sports minister Sarbananda Sonowal to demand 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.”

There will be no official comment from the Indian contingent in Incheon until a report had been filed to the ministry.

Mongolia also lodged a protest after male bantamweight Tugstsogt Nyambayr contentiously lost a decision against South Korea’s Ham Sang-Myeong on Tuesday.

The drama at Wednesday’s medal ceremony overshadowed boxing glory for India five-time world champion Mary Kom, who won her first Asian Games gold.

AFP

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