Indias L Sarita Devi (60kg) was robbed of a sure place in the womens 60kg boxing final when the verdict went in favour of her South Korean rival Jina Park in a bout the Indian dominated, after her senior teammate M C Mary Kom stormed into the gold medal round in the 51kg class at the Asian Games here today.
Sarita Devi and middle weight (75kg) woman boxer Pooja Rani, who too lost her semi final bout, settled for bronze while two men boxers Vikash Krishan (75kg) and Satish Kumar (+91kg) fought their way into the semi finals by winning their quarter finals at the Seonhak Gymnasium.
Two other men L Devendro Singh (49kg) and Shiva Thapa (56kg) – made their exit after losing their quarter final bouts and would return home without a medal.
Though the days proceedings ended with Satish Kumar and Vikas assuring India of at least two bronze medals after Mary Kom made sure of a silver, to go with the two bronze medals won by Sarita and Pooja, the daylight robbery of Saritas place in the gold medal contest left a bitter taste in the mouth.
To add to the woes, the protest lodged by the Indian camp against the verdict, after paying USD 500, was also rejected.
But what triggered massive outrage was Sarita’s loss which left the Manipuri in tears. Up against home favourite Jina Park, Sarita, the Commonwealth Games silver-medallist, went down 0-3 despite clearly being the better boxer.
Sarita simply pummelled her rival with her flurry of quicksilver blows — at times raining four to her rival’s one.
But shockingly, Park was not given a single standing count by the Algerian referee Hammadi Yakoub Kheira despite looking rocked back by Sarita’s blows to her chin.
In the end, all three ringside judges ruled in favour of the Korean by identical 39-37 margins.
The ringside judges were Braham Mohamad of Tunisia, Albino Foti of Italy and Mariusz Josef Gorny of Poland.
Immediately after the bout, a tearful Sarita broke down while talking to journalists.
All my hard work has come to nought. It has happened to me but kindly see that this kind of injustice is not meted out to anyone else in the competition. I request you, she said tearfully with folded hands.
If they wanted to award the bout to her, then why allow us to fight in the first place, she added.
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