Former boxers flummoxed by inconsistent Olympic scoring
`Robbery and cheating` are the words resonating at the Excel Arena in the British capital almost everyday and the International Boxing Association has had to suspend a couple of judges besides overturning results of two bouts so far.
The Indians too have been at the receiving end of some contentious calls, the most recent being Manoj Kumar`s (64kg) ouster despite seemingly dominating his pre-quarterfinal bout against home favourite Thomas Stalker.
"The current system (of showing scores only at the end of the round) is inconsistent, the previous one (in which scores were updated live) was better. Olympics is the biggest event and such controversies are sad," India`s first World Cup bronze-medallist and national selection committee member V Devarajan told PTI.
"I don`t understand the scoring system that is being followed in the Games," said 2006 Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Akhil Kumar.
Akhil felt while the system is the same for everyone, what matters is the people implementing it – the judges who do the scoring and the referees who oversee the bouts.
"It`s the same for every boxer but the difference lies in the people implementing it. Are they good enough? I am happy that at least our boxers are now being supported and people are speaking up for them. In our time, no one raised a voice," he said.
"The boxers are doing their job by fighting well in the ring but fighting outside the ring is not their job. It`s the responsibility of the officials," Akhil added.
India were at the receiving end when Sumit Sangwan (81kg) lost a close bout and the appeal against the decision was turned down by the AIBA Competition Jury.
Later Vikas Krishan (69kg) lost despite being initially declared a winner after the rival American team won an appeal against the decision on technical grounds.
Surprisingly, the Indians did not file an appeal in Manoj`s case even though the British boxer could have been warned for excessive bending.
"I am very disappointed, because I thought Manoj was leading by 3-4 points and then scoreboard flashed that he was trailing, I was shocked," said Devarajan who stayed up to catch the action live in the wee hours this morning in Chennai.
India`s first Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Mohd Ali Qamar, who clinched the yellow metal in the 2005 Manchester edition, said the current system was put in place with good intentions but was critical of ring officials.
"The earlier system was taking away the charm of boxing. This one ensures that the boxers remain aggressive all through and don`t go on the defensive after getting a good lead. To my mind, the refereeing has been very poor."
"In Vikas`s case, had he been warned early for holding and spitting out his gumshield, he would have been careful in the third round. In my opinion, the boxers suffered because of poor refereeing in London," he said.