Neeraj loses Worlds opener in con­tro­ver­sial fash­ion

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Sport - Sabi.Hus­[email protected] times­

New Delhi: In­dia’s promis­ing woman boxer Neeraj Phogat’s de­but World Cham­pi­onship ended in tears on Satur­day af­ter the reign­ing In­dia Open cham­pion (in the 57kg cat­e­gory) lost her open­ing bout against China’s Qiao Jieru in a con­tro­ver­sial fash­ion in Ulan Ude, Rus­sia. Neeraj, who was clearly a bet­ter boxer of the two, lost 2:3 in a split de­ci­sion by five tech­ni­cal judges, de­spite the In­dian coach­ing staff of­fi­cially protest­ing against the ver­dict.

Later, In­dia’s chief for­eign coach, Raf­faele Berga­m­asco, shared the screen shot of judges’ scor­ing sheet, based on which Neeraj should have been de­clared the win­ner. Ac­cord­ing to the scor­ing chart, judges from Turk­menistan (27-29) and Slo­vakia (27-29) voted in favour of Neeraj, while the three other judges from Czech Repub­lic, Italy and the Philip­pines found the two box­ers on equal foot­ing and awarded 2828 points each. Ac­cord­ing to Berga­m­asco, Neeraj should have been de­clared the win­ner by 2:0 ver­dict based on the points awarded. Be­sides, Jieru had re­ceived a warn­ing from the ref­eree for ex­ces­sive hold­ing.

Sur­pris­ingly, the 28-28 points awarded by three judges were all con­sid­ered in Chi­nese boxer’s favour and she was de­clared the win­ner, leav­ing Neeraj and the en­tire In­dian coach­ing staff ab­so­lutely gut­ted. “I am dis­ap­pointed with this in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the scor­ing. Neeraj was good through­out and then this hap­pened. You can­not live with these judg­ments against your box­ers,” Berga­m­asco told TOI from Ulan Ude.

“This scor­ing can’t be ac­cepted. Two ref­er­ees de­clared Neeraj the win­ner and three had a draw. But the Chi­nese was pre­ferred over her. This is a very bad de­ci­sion,” the coach fumed.

Saweety Boora (75kg) ad­vanced to the pre-quar­ters with an im­pres­sive 5-0 win over Mongolia’s Myag­mar­jar­gal Munkhbat in the open­ing round.

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