Quite simply put, the facts are thus:
The Indian, Vikas Krishan, fights the American, Errol Spence, in the pre-quarterfinal of the 69kg category in the boxing events at the London 2012 Olympics.
Vikas is adjudged the winner, 13 points to 11.
The American camp believes they have been wronged. They appeal against the decision.
The judges confer. They believe that the Americans have a case in point.
They review the decision. They award the fight to the American 15 points to 13.
The Indians cry foul. A nation outrages. News channels have a field day.
There are quotes coming in from the boxer, his father, his team, the Indian boxing federation, the boxer’s first standard classmate and Kapil Sibal – because he must always be consulted and he always has something to say. There have been accusations of the nation being wronged and the decision being political. Frankly, it is surprising that Mamata Banerjee has not called the judges ‘Maoists’. Or perhaps, she is addressing a press conference as you read this.
As with pretty much anything, we hardly need a spark to outrage and duly, we oblige. How many of those people claiming that India has been wronged and that this is simply a political conspiracy actually understand the boxing scoring system or even more fundamentally, even know what a point means? Not too many, is the answer.
A statement released by the AIBA after a review of the bout by the competition jury had the following things to say:
“There were a total of nine (9) holding fouls committed by the Indian boxer in the third round alone. However, the Referee only gave one caution,”
“In the second round, at the time 02:38, the boxer from India spitted out his gumshield intentionally. However, the Referee didn’t give any warning.”
“Based on the AIBA Technical & Competition Rules 12.1.9, the Referee should have given at least two (2) warnings to the Indian boxer. Although the boxer from India intentionally spitted out his gumshield, the Referee’s view was blocked by the boxer from the USA and was not able to see the action.”
Looking at those statements, one can quite simply say that the AIBA was well within its rights to overturn the verdict and rule in favor of the American. What is in contention is, however, how right this review was. “IOA condemns this decision. This result should be strongly taken up by the Indian contingent and unitedly protested and reviewed. There are four different judges and they make their separate decisions. It is baffling why did none of them objected to this. Four people have given verdicts and it is wrong for USA to appeal after the decision has been given,” IOA vice-President, Tarlochan Singh said.
Now, that is a point. Why should a decision be reviewed at all? The judges who did rule were competent and appointed by the AIBA. So why did the Americans appeal at all? Fair point. However, if one were to flip the scenario and if it was indeed the Indian who was at the receiving end of the initial decision, would the IOA not have appealed? Of course they would have. Calling the appeal wrong is just ludicrous; and stupid. The Americans could appeal and they did. If there is any ire, it must be directed at the judges and the AIBA, but not towards the Americans for appealing. It is just stupid to do so.
The Indians can feel hard done by, for they had an appeal rejected in an earlier round and another appeal in badminton rejected too, but to club the disparate events together to call it a political conspiracy or whatever else is just hilarity. The incident must be looked at individually for it is one that stands by itself.
Perhaps the appeal will be heard; perhaps the decision will be overturned; perhaps it will not be. One thing is for certain, the outrage will not abate and the idiocy will not subside. By all means, outrage. However, make sure that your outrage has meaning. Always appraise yourself of the facts in their entirety, decide that it is indeed outrage-worthy and then outrage. It just isn’t worth your effort otherwise.