TODAY -

Lost at Decision, Won at Boxing

Premkumar Heigrujam *

Laishram Sarita gestures towards silver medalist South Korea's Park Ji-na as the latter tries to persuade Devi to accept her bronze medal on October 01 2014
Laishram Sarita gestures towards silver medalist South Korea's Park Ji-na as the latter tries to persuade Devi to accept her bronze medal on October 01 2014 :: Pix - The Sangai Express / Agencies



It looks like a joke when you see the video that Sarita, with an "explosion of punches", "hammered" and "pounded" Park like hell and Park, who lasted till the last round by hugging and hiding, was declared winner! I am not exaggerating- this is what I and many saw and what the commentator repeatedly said during the semi-final bout between India's L. Sarita Devi and South Korea's Park Jin-a in the just concluded 2014 Incheon Asian Games, South Korea. Park Jin-a was declared winner despite L. Sarita Devi dominating the whole fight.

If you have watched the bout between the two fighters and listened to what the commentator said, you will find that even the commentator, leave alone the Indian audiences, was also in doubt when Park's name was announced as the winner. That poor guy certainly did not believe what he just saw. This was what he had to say at the end of 3rd Round and when two of the judges gave scores in favour of Park over Sarita: "But from my viewpoint a lot more of the scoring punches were from the gloves of Devi (L. Sarita Devi)."

Beginning form the 1st Round itself, you see that Sarita dominated Park. To substantiate this, I will not go by the version of someone you will later call biased or partial. Let's go by the version of the commentator. A commentator, here a sports commentator, is the one who tells things as it is. He is the one who is saying what is happening in the game. There is little scope he could lie. It is hardly possible that he could say things that do not happen in the game or the fight when everyone is watching the same game or fight with him. On the other hand, he has to describe things in a fast manner and the possibility of making up stories that do not exist is very remote.

In the case of the fight between L. Sarita Devi and Park Jin-a, this was what the commentator said about L. Sarita Devi of India:

"Good punching here by Devi.... Devi getting inside with a couple of heavy punches to the head of (Park)....to the left and right...reining on Park... Devi is a heavy puncher.... flurry of punches... hammering... Devi all over Park Jin-a in exchange of punches... Blood coming from (the) nose of Park... explosion of punches by Devi... Both throw lot of punches but some heavy blows to the head of Park... Right across the Park's face... Another round of combination... she (Sarita) really is slamming the head of Park... couple of straight punches right to the middle of the face (of Park).... Right and left from Devi scoring in that exchange of punches and more of Devi's punches landing (on Park)."

Sarita was commented dominating Park in the whole fight beginning with the 1st Round till the 4th Round (last round). Yet when the judges favoured Park over Sarita in the scorecard, the commentator did not just believe it. He confessed that it was supposed to be Sarita over Park in terms of scoring punches. The repeated headgear adjustments of Park and the highlights showing Sarita punching Park heavily, pounding all over Park's face- all these were convincing enough reasons why the commentator could not believe the judges giving scores favouring Park. Who else would, even the Koreans themselves?

The only exclusive mention of Park Jin-a in the bout by the commentator was in the Last Round when the fight was about to end- just few seconds left. The fight of Park Jin-a can be summarised in what the commentator said: "Right hook form Park, gone around the back (of Sarita)."

This particular scandal-like incident reminds me of one of the worst decisions in the Boxing's history. The Roy Jones Junior's final bout against Si Hun Park of South Korea in 1988 Seoul Olympics in which Park was declared winner despite everyone witnessing with their eyes that it was Jones who punched Park heavily and that it was Jones who was the obvious winner. In the punch counts Jones had 303 thrown, 86 landed compared to Park's 188 thrown, 32 landed respectively. In terms of percentage of punch counts it was 28 percent for Jones compared to Park's mere 17 percent.

Well, the Americans were shocked. The American commentator of that unfortunate bout was surprised. Roy Jones Junior stood there in disbelief. Si Hun Park came to Jones and lifted him with joy! South Koreans were happy and cheering for their "winner" Park.

Later, it was reportedly said that the three judges were actually dined with and bribed by the South Korean officials. They were found guilty and banned. Si Hun Park later rendered an apology to Roy Jones Junior. The decision that favoured Park however was not reversed. That Olympic Gold Medal never landed on Jones' neck. Roy Jones Junior however became the finest boxer that the game could ever witness and won various titles. And, we never hear of Si Hun Park again.

But the 2014 Asian Games saw another Park, another South Korean at South Korea and a daylight "robbery" of a medal that was meant for somebody who struggled odds to realise a long cherished dream of winning gold at the Games. Yes, L. Sarita Devi, like Mary Kom or any other player in India and particularly in Manipur, has fought various odds to reach to this level. And, she could win that Gold Medal when given the opportunity. Or, at least she deserved to be in the final. But she was robbed of the opportunity.

The decision shocked the Indians. Sarita's husband was furious. She herself was in disbelief. There was a lot of booeing when the judgement favouring Park over Sarita was announced.

This time, in the history of boxing, L. Sarita Devi was doing something that Roy Jones Junior did not in 1988. She took the bronze medal and slipped around Park Jin-a's neck who was beaten in the final bout by her Chinese opponent. Her act was in defiance of what the officials say 'rules'.

Criticising this particular act of Sarita, Son Cheon-taik, Deputy Secretary of the Incheon Asian Games organising committee said she should have respected the official ruling and showed sportsmanship. Our fellow country-men and -women, while supporting Sarita, are also commenting in social media that Sarita's action of handing the bronze medal to Park was regrettable. Sarita, under immense pressure and considering her future career of course, has reportedly rendered a written apology to the concerned officials.

But I do not regret Sarita's actions. Nor do I see her lacking sportsmanship.

I find her actions showing a rare spirit of acting against the unjust acts of the judges despite fully knowing that she would be facing undesirable consequences. Yes, Sarita had the full knowledge that her actions would attract a harsh punishment, even lifetime ban on her career, from the AIBA. Yet, she acted with a will to defy the unjust decisions of the potentially- corrupted judges. There may be rules but what if the rules are used to unequally favour one over another.

One of the arguments given by South Koreans is that none of the judges in the bout were South Koreans. But the same is true in the case of Roy Jones Junior versus Si Hun Park fight- none of the judges in their case was not also South Koreans. But they were bribed and so the decision was in favour of Si Hun Park, the South Korean boxer.

There is no conclusion that the judges in the fight between Sarita and Park were bribed. It is simply that this cannot be ruled out.

The incident is not an isolated one but the worst of its kind. There are other controversies that South Koreans had gone too far to make South Koreans get some medal or trophy. But, Sarita's case is one of the worst.

If she had not acted upon no one would find out the gross injustice permeated to her. It was her daring act that attracted the attention of the people to see what was happening. She did it without any intention of attracting favour of any kind but her courageous act was appreciated by many sports-loving people. That has made a difference now.

As it was being said in Roy Jones Junior's, it can be said in L. Sarita Devi's that "IN LOSING, A BOXER WON."

P.S. I do not want to comment on the Indian officials on that day. You already know.


* Premkumar Heigrujam wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer is a M. Phil. scholar in the Department of Political Science, University of Delhi and can be contacted at pkheija(at)gmail(dot)com
This article was posted on October 04, 2014.


* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Women's Polo Tournament #1 : Gallery
  • Fashion Show: 'Handloom' #2 : Gallery
  • Reporting in Conflict Situation #1
  • Treatment schemes of RIMS, Lamphel
  • Home remedies for skin pigmentation
  • NE Chapter of ICSI inaugurated
  • Media credibility matter to uphold its sanctity
  • Setting down Jan 31 deadline : SC
  • Tangkhul Zingtun Longphang #1: Gallery
  • Wungramphy, Khamgonpou: eMing
  • NEROCA FC Vs Indian Arrows #3 : Gallery
  • Career option in Human Rights
  • Water conflicts over the Brahmaputra
  • PAC against Killing of Pravish: 17 Jan
  • Neiphiu Rio resigns from NPF
  • NPF-BJP Relationship : NPF clarifies
  • Consolidating the sporting heritage
  • Rising air and noise pollution
  • Kukis have equal right... : Neiphiu Rio
  • Rajnath reviews security in NE
  • Lafoi Shamda puthorkpa #2 : Gallery
  • Sangai Fest: Commercial Stalls #3: Gallery
  • The joy of living :: Poem
  • Bamboo a tree or grass ?
  • SELF Workshop on Leadership & Fulfilment
  • The Killing Fields :: News Timeline
  • Fight against corruption; we need Lokayukta
  • Hailing the role of drivers
  • Nangna Helli Nungshiba #2 :: eRang
  • Pung Chollom : Gallery
  • Wakhal Seireng :: Book Review
  • Imphal Jamboree by Global Shapers
  • Importance of regular health check-ups
  • Meetei demand for ST is Constitutional.. #2
  • Weapon Display organized at Moreh
  • Ex-Servicemen Rally organized
  • AR helps Orphanage & Old Age Home
  • Search of comprehensive culture & identity
  • List of MLA (Jan 2018) #1 : Gallery
  • Manipur Gas Today :: Android App
  • Imoinu Erat Thouni #3: Gallery
  • GNRC media fellowship announced
  • The Meiteis- Festival & celebration maniacs
  • How to make bridal mehndi long lasting
  • Governor's attention drawn to RIMS
  • Scientist develops prototype of electric car
  • Stereotypes about NE make people living..
  • Light Show at Loktak Lake #5 : Gallery
  • Candlelight vigil for Pravish : Gallery
  • Imbroglio of ethnic identity of Ranglong
  • Foundation For Excellence scholarship
  • Time Table - Class XII Exam 2018
  • Mail spoofing- Trickery by deception
  • Trial by fire
  • Call for solution before election
  • Villagers along Myanmar border get pass
  • Meetei Chanu 2017 #3 : Gallery
  • Art and Artist, A Creative Space
  • NEROCA FC Vs Indian Arrows #2 : Gallery
  • Ode to Thy Mellow Light :: Poem
  • Xmas with Meitei eche at Phaijol
  • Time Table - Class XI Exam 2018
  • Indo-Naga Talks 2017 :: News Timeline
  • IMC , now another hurdle to traffic mgmt
  • Setting aside two days for the people
  • Maring: Kummui Chaa-um : Gallery
  • Miss Manipur 2017 #5 : Gallery
  • Statehood Day Women's Polo Tournament
  • Time Table - HSLC Exam 2018
  • Bananas: Beauty's best friend
  • DPC for Follower at Manipur Police
  • Job Openings at JCRE Skill Solutions
  • The lost treasure
  • Nagas' Interests : Stand of NPF MSU
  • Nagaland polls on schedule: HM
  • Mukna Kangjei Tournament #2: Gallery
  • Keisham Manihar : Natyabhusan(Leela)
  • World Tourism Day #3: Gallery
  • Responsibility of protecting the environment
  • Phishing vs Vishing: The Verbal Challenge
  • BNHS Bi-monthly Program for Jan-Feb
  • Managing weight for preventing diabetes
  • Making democracy peoples' participatory
  • Progressing from media to SC
  • Manipur to set up modern food lab
  • Gaan Ngai @ Kakhulong Khun: Gallery
  • A trip to Moreh #2 : Gallery
  • How long catchy slogans keep hopes alive
  • Recycling of hospital waste-water
  • I am sometime or somewhere : Poem
  • Angami Zapu Phizo's Surreal 2017 AD
  • Film "Legacy Of King Narak" awarded
  • Of PM and our CM
  • Patronising the killing machines ?
  • Deferment of polls unlikely: Ravi
  • PM may visit Manipur in March
  • Emoinu Khoiramba @Koubru #2: Gallery
  • NEROCA FC Vs East Bengal #2: Gallery
  • Transform Colleges into Innovation Centres
  • New Delhi: World Book Fair 2018 :: Review
  • Cry Of A Dying River...12 :: Poem
  • Workshop on National Pension for NE
  • Law enforcers action - Well & good
  • Final pact yet to see light of day
  • Cold wave hits Manipur
  • Take out the cymbals, Manoharsai to stay
  • Indo-Naga Peace Process :: Articles
  • MaiOn - Scenes #2 :: eRang
  • Imoinu Erat Thouni #2: Gallery
  • Miss Manipur 2017 #4 : Gallery
  • Is Global Warming Natural or Anthropogenic
  • Prof Gangmumei Kamei: Legendary hero
  • Common Education System rally organized
  • DAMMS launched 2018 calendar
  • Chorus for 'Solution Not Election'
  • NEROCA FC Vs Indian Arrows #1 : Gallery
  • Gaan Ngai @Moirangkhom : Gallery
  • I was born healthy, I wanna die healthy
  • Practice peace & change the life
  • TSA Moreh Block installed
  • Cycle Rally: common education system
  • Ethics, medical profession & soaring fees
  • Meetei Chanu 2017 #2 : Gallery
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Meira rally for Pravish : Gallery
  • Accelerate momentum to endTB for SDGs
  • The call that can't be turned down
  • Live@MDU: New act with same old vibes
  • 1st Centre of Excellence- Electronics Skill
  • LED Lights installed by Loktak Station
  • NE tragedy: Policy failures & influx
  • Angaoba - Scenes #3 :: eRang
  • 51st Mr Manipur Contest 2017 #3 : Gallery
  • Result: Manipur Sangai Intl Digital salon
  • Use Swachhata App to Make Imphal No. 1
  • Career @ events and celebration
  • Night nourishing
  • Indo-Nepal Friendship: 25 yrs of Don Bosco
  • Understanding the indices of life
  • Poppy cultivation & drug cartels
  • Emoinu Khoiramba @Koubru #1: Gallery
  • Day 10: Closing of Sangai Fest #4 : Gallery
  • The creation of the universe, matter...
  • Mumbai: The city of dreams
  • Let this new year kill your new fears
  • Asian Waterbird Census: Count waterbirds
  • Looking for a better inclusive alternative
  • Coaching & commercialisation of education
  • New Year picnic @ Singda Dam : Gallery
  • Miss Manipur 2017 #3 : Gallery
  • Despite Stolen Dreams :: Book Rvw
  • Handloom Training @Hojai : Gallery
  • The Perfect timing
  • IGAR (south) meets Chief Minister
  • Communique from Neiphiu Rio on NDPP
  • Discussion on 'Rohingyas' at Delhi
  • In the process of making change- Manipur
  • Looking ahead from vantage point 2017
  • NEROCA FC Vs East Bengal #1: Gallery
  • World Tourism Day #2: Gallery
  • Immediate Manipur
  • Easter Peace :: Poem
  • You are what you eat
  • Goals for Girls: Leadership Summit @Delhi
  • Imoinu Erat Thouni #1: Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Front Page Photo #6: Gallery
  • LUCIFER-X released debut EP
  • ..on the ocean of despondence :: Poem
  • Happy new year to State lovers
  • New year, new me: Re-designing self
  • Quiz Competition & Career Awareness
  • Calendar for the Year 2018 :: e-pao Tools
  • Gaan Ngai : Zeliangrong festival :: Flash
  • 51st Mr Manipur Contest 2017 #2 : Gallery
  • Crowd @ Flower Festival @Mao #4: Gallery
  • Gaan-Ngai Festival of Zelianglong
  • Goodbye 2017, welcome 2018
  • Cry of a dying river- 11 :: Poem
  • Free Heart OPD & Echocardiogram
  • Peoples' mandate: what next?
  • Understanding Manipur and its history
  • Kwatha (Indo-Myanmar Border) #2: Gallery
  • Thang Ta @Parlimentary : Gallery
  • A Hymn for Goddess Emoinu
  • Bamboo for poverty alleviations
  • A costly peace deal
  • The song of the speech-impaired : Poem
  • Opportunity for NE Youth @Delhi/NCR
  • Chief Of Army Staff visits Manipur
  • Waiting for another begining
  • NE: Little change albeit promises galore
  • Flower Festival @ Mao #3 : Gallery
  • Miss Manipur 2017 #2 : Gallery
  • Why the Ngamu Fish ?
  • Unsung heroes
  • Wishing a goa in Manipur!
  • Handloom Weaver at Nagaon, Assam
  • Reminder on role of media & political party
  • Hospital death: Deliver justice if delivery ..
  • Restricted Holidays 2018 : Govt of Manipur
  • Lourembam Bedabati : Sangeetbhusan
  • Culturals @ Mera Houchongba #3 : Gallery
  • Handloom Training @Assam : Gallery
  • Ras Leela @Parliment committee: Gallery
  • List of RIST popular talks during 2014-2017
  • 'Good Governance Day' & Manipur
  • Christmas eve @ CCpur #2 : Gallery
  • Public Holidays 2018 : Govt of Manipur
  • Pui Thangamliu #2 :: eRang
  • Christmas Carol @ Lamphel : Gallery
  • Royal Crematorium at Bangkok #2 : Gallery
  • Christmas Carol at Namdulong : Gallery
  • General Holidays 2018 : Govt of Manipur
  • 3rd Flower Festival @ Mao #2 : Gallery
  • Lafoi Shamda puthorkpa #1 : Gallery
  • Nupilal Ningsing Lamjen : Gallery
  • cYK_rb TwaI :: Seireng
  • Manipur Sangai Festival 2016 #7 : Ooba
  • Manipuri Calendar for 2018 : Download it
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • SPONSORED ADS