Asian Games: Runner gets gold for coming 4th, boxer refuses medal

2014-10-02 10:40

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Incheon, South Korea – Cries of foul play took over the Asian Games when an Indian female boxer refused to accept her medal and Malaysia lodged a formal complaint after one of its competitors failed a drugs test.

An Iraqi runner was also awarded a gold after a bizarre end to one of the key athletic events where he finished fourth but the first three finishers were all disqualified.

Multisports events are always filled with drama and controversy but even by the eccentric nature of the Asian Games, yesterday’s developments were bordering on the bizarre.

The Indian boxer L Sarita Devi was left facing disciplinary action after being reported to Asian Olympic officials over her behaviour.

Sarita refused to wear the bronze medal that was presented to her yesterday, taking it only in her hand before trying to drape it over a South Korean opponent who had beaten her in a fight the previous day.

When the presentation was over, Sarita left the medal behind, despite being told by the organisers to take it with her.

The International Boxing Federation took a dim view of her actions, submitting a formal report to the Olympic Council of Asia over her behaviour.

“The whole incident looked like a well-planned scenario by her and her team, and it is regretful to watch a boxer refuse the medal regardless of what happened in the competition,” International Boxing Association supervisor David Francis said.

“In this regard, as the technical delegate, I had to request the Olympic Council of Asia to review this incident, so any boxer or athlete in other sports will not follow in her footsteps by respecting the spirit of fair play and sportsmanship of the Olympic movement.”

Malaysia was also in the spotlight after the team’s chef de mission said the southeast Asian nation would appeal the decision to suspend its martial arts gold medal winner Tai Cheau Xuen.

The Olympic council announced yesterday that a fifth athlete had tested positive. Syrian karate competitor Nour Aldin al-Kurdi had tested positive for the banned steroid clenbuterol and had been disqualified, it said.

Iraq’s Adnan Almntfage got a lucky break when he was promoted to the gold medal for the men’s 800 metres despite finishing the final in fourth place.

Mohammed Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia crossed the line first, just ahead of Abdulrahman Musaeb Bala of Qatar and Abraham Kipchirchir Rotich of Bahrain after a frantic two-lap race.

But Almntfage was later elevated to the gold medal position after Abdulaziz was disqualified for obstruction and Bala and Rotich were disqualified for lane infractions.

“I would like to say that the Bahraini, Qatari and Saudi opponents were very worthy opponents – however they made mistakes at the 200m mark,” said Almntfage.

“And these mistakes were against the rules of the competition, I hope these mistakes won’t happen again in such a competition.”

The off-field dramas overshadowed most of yesterday’s competition, where 33 gold medals were decided.

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