Two North Korean coaches were kicked out of the Asian Games yesterday, after mounting a protest in the ring after one of their boxers lost the women’s flyweight final.
Coach Pak Chol-jun refused to leave the ring and incited boxer Pang Chol-mi to remain behind in protest against the judging after China’s Chang Yuan won gold on a 3-2 split decision.
Both were eventually forced to leave by police and security staff after the standoff marred the finale to the Games boxing competition.
Another coach, Pak Il-nam, got into an angry frenzy outside the ring as he tried to whip up the crowd to jeer the decision.
Both coaches had their Asian Games credentials immediately revoked and will now face disciplinary action by the International Boxing Association (AIBA).
The large North Korean contingent in the crowd and a big section of South Korean fans then jeered Chang as she received her gold medal.
Pang stood stony-faced as she received the silver medal, refused to acknowledge any cheers, then turned away from the Chinese flag during the anthem and would not join the other medal winners for the usual group photograph afterward.
There was no immediate comment from AIBA or the Olympic Council of Asia as to whether Pang would face any disciplinary action.
The scenes cast a pall over what had been a memorable day of action in the ring, and overshadowed two memorable achievements in the subsequent two women’s finals.
“The coaches’ credentials have been revoked and they will be sent forward to the disciplinary commission for them to review and take action,” AIBA executive director Tom Virgets said. “We are going to get the message across to our people to accept decisions. At the same time, AIBA has a responsibility to ensure fair play happens.”
The seven men’s finals passed off without incident, with Uzbekistan winning five golds before Chang and Pang squared up in the first of three women’s finals at the Jakarta International Expo.
They fought at a furious pace and Pang was convinced she had won, only to be disappointed before her coaches began their protest.
After a delay caused by the incident, all eyes turned to the women’s featherweight final between North Korea’s Jo Son-hwa and China’s 2014 Games gold medalist Yin Junhua, who was looking to make history.
Yin took it on a 4-1 split decision to become the first woman to win two Asian Games boxing golds. This time, the judges’ verdict was accepted in good grace with both boxers embracing and congratulating each other’s corners.
“I’m very excited, very happy, because of the expectations I’ve faced this time,” Chang said.
The final women’s bout saw a Korean finally get on the top step of the podium, although it was Oh Yeon-ji from the South.
She beat Thailand’s Seesondee Sudaporn to win lightweight gold, the first by a female boxer from her nation and South Korea’s only boxing medal at these Games.
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