INCHEON, South Korea (AFP) – Scuffles broke out and Mongolia threatened to withdraw its fighters as controversial decisions favouring home boxers caused chaotic scenes at the Asian Games on Tuesday.
The husband of Indian lightweight Sarita Devi launched an expletive-laden tirade and tangled with security after South Korea’s Park Ji-Na was controversially awarded their semi-final bout.
And Mongolia lodged an official protest after male bantamweight Tugstsogt Nyambayr, who staged a brief sit-in protest, contentiously lost a decision against Ham Sang-Myeong.
India’s Devi dominated her fight and when Park’s hand was raised for the win, it sparked jeers and a confrontation which prompted the arrival of police.
“I don’t accept this decision. It’s wrong,” a distraught Devi, told AFP, while her husband Chongtham Thoiba Singh confronted officials screaming: “You’ve killed boxing!”
He grabbed his wife’s arm and tried to lead her in protest back to the ring, where the next bout was already under way, resulting in scuffles as their path was blocked by security.
“Don’t tell me it’s OK! This is not OK! What the hell is going on here!” Singh shouted at the top of his voice. “She won this fight and you give it to Korea,” he yelled.
Police were called into the arena and stood in a cordon between the press area and the ring.
The India team’s Cuban coach Blas Iglesias Fernandez called for the judges to be sacked.
“I hope all these judges that made this decision are thrown out of the tournament,” he said.
“It was a totally clear bout, not any doubt. Only those people saw the South Korean as the winner. She won every round. She hammered her.”
Meanwhile the Mongolian team said they had lodged an official protest with the International Boxing Association (AIBA) over Nyambayr’s defeat.
“Depending on AIBA’s response, one of the actions being considered is withdrawing the entire boxing team from the Games,” press attache Naran Baatar told AFP.
No one from AIBA was immediately available for comment and an official from the Games’ organising committee also refused to comment when approached by AFP.
The episode took the gloss off what should have been a glorious day for India in the women’s semi-finals.
In the first bout of the day, icon and five-time world champion Mary Kom outpointed Vietnam’s Le Thi Bang to erase bitter memories of falling in the last four in both the last Asian Games and Olympic Games.