Can Understand Sarita Devi's Emotions: Olympic Council of Asia
Sarita Devi lost the lightweight semifinal to South Korea's Jina Park despite dominating the bout. Her protest against the decision was rejected and the disconsolate boxer refused to accept the bronze at the medal ceremony.
After reinstating Sarita Devi's medal following an apology from her and the IOA, the Olympic Council of Asia on said the boxer's disappointment on losing a controversial Asiad semifinal was understandable but her emotional outburst at the presentation ceremony was uncalled for.
"The main objective of the OCA in staging the Asian Games is to provide a fair platform for the athletes to showcase their skills. Sometimes technical errors do happen in sports. Boxing has had plenty of issues with officiating and the new rules were set to weed out errors," OCA president Sheikh Al-Fahad Al-Sabah said at the final media briefing of the Games today.
"I can understand her emotions from losing the match. Everyone remembers Seoul 1986 when a boxer broke out into tears (after being denied a win).
"(But) As an athlete she needs to understand there are other athletes on the podium. They too have fought hard to be there. You cannot kill their moment. There is always a medium to issue your protest and it could have done that way. I'm happy that she has apologised and we can put an end to this problem."
Sarita lost the lightweight semifinal to South Korea's Jina Park despite dominating the bout. Her protest against the decision was rejected and the disconsolate boxer refused to accept the bronze at the medal ceremony.
"OCA received an apology letter from the chef de mission. We also received a letter from the national Olympic committee. OCA then decided to give the athletes a strong warning. We understood that the country as a whole is not at fault for the misconduct of an athlete," said OCA's life vice president Wei Jhizhong said.
Sheikh Al-Sabah conceded that there were some issues in boxing over ringside officiating.
"Also we received a letter from five NOCs over poor officiating. We will discuss with AIBA (world boxing body) about that at a later time," he said.
Terming the Incheon Games "a success", the OCA chief said that at present there was no move to introduce a qualification system to gain entry into the Games.
"The rules and style of the Games cannot be changed. This the biggest multi-sport event in Asia."
Asked about the sudden pulling out of Vietnam from hosting the next Games and Jakarta being awarded those on September 20, the OCA chief said there was no threat to the Games till 2020.
"We awarded it to Indonesia. But China was ready to host. Bangkok (Thailand) has hosted in four times in the past. We are not worried about stopping of our Games. We are going to host 14 events (including indoor and beach games) every four years. We are ready till the end of the decade," he said.