October 1, 2014 / 10:44 AM / 3 years ago

Games-India fumes at "robbery in the ring" in Korea

NEW DELHI, Oct 1 (Reuters) - India’s media and the country’s boxing community both believe that L Sarita Devi was “robbed in the ring” by biased judges in her lightweight semi-final bout at the Asian Games in South Korea.

Local favourite Park Ji-na was declared a unanimous 3-0 winner of Tuesday’s contest, surprising many in India, who felt Sarita had comprehensibly dominated the bout and should have advanced to the final in Incheon.

As soon as the result was announced, Sarita’s husband Thoiba Singh launched an expletive-laden tirade at the judges, the Indian Express newspaper reported on Wednesday, referring to the verdict as a “Crying Shame”.

Sarita lodged a protest against the outcome, which was rejected on the grounds that a boxer cannot challenge decisions.

“We will accept the medal (bronze) at the ceremony but are planning to return it as a mark of protest,” Singh told the newspaper.

At Wednesday’s medal presentation, Devi broke down in tears and refused to wear the bronze medal she was presented with.

The daily also criticised Indian officials at Incheon for not helping Sarita who, it said, had to borrow $500 to lodge her protest.

Several dailies featured a crying Sarita on the front page with Mail Today lamenting how she had been “robbed in the ring” by “biased” judges.

“The fact that all the three judges gave it to the Korean clearly shows the result of the bout was decided before the start,” India’s Cuban coach Blas Iglesias Fernandez told the Times of India newspaper.

”You can understand if such a thing happens in a close bout but this was totally one-sided and this is a poor advertisement for boxing.

“In fact, the Korean coach is a good friend of mine and he came and said sorry,” Fernandez said. (Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty; Editing by John O‘Brien)

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