All amateur judges!
Team Korea unhappy with officiating
By Kang Seung-woo
Team Korea is suffering through what it sees as poor officiating at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
After Beijing Olympic champion Park Tae-hwan’s temporary disqualification following a bad call and reinstatement in his 400-meter freestyle heat on the first day, judoka Cho Jun-ho saw his Olympic dream dashed in the quarterfinals of the under-66 kilogram competition on Sunday night (KST).
The judges initially awarded the bout against world champion Masashi Ebinuma of Japan to the 23-year-old Korean. But they reversed their decision after intervention from the International Judo Federation’s (IJF) Refereeing Commission.
The match remained scoreless after regulation time plus an extra three minutes, putting the decision in the hands of judges, who originally declared Cho the winner.
Amid boos from angry Japanese fans, referees director Juan Carlos Barcos spoke with IJF chief Marius Vizer and afterwards, the judges handed the match to Ebinuma.
Korean officials, including Kim Jung-haeng, head of the Korea Judo Association, appealed, but it was rejected.
“Since the foundation of the IJF, the overturning of a judge’s decision (following a draw) has never happened in 60 years,” said Jung Hoon, head coach of the Korean judo team.
Even the opponent admitted he thought he had been defeated.
"I thought I was going to lose but there was all this support in the spectator seats and that allowed me to get this medal," he told AFP.
“But I’m feeling a bit bad for (Cho).”
The world governing body is trying to quiet the growing debate.
“The International Judo Federation is strongly committed to equity and, as part of our sport judo, to the development of all the tools that in our competitions help the referees to make the right decisions, so that the best fighters win,” the IJF said in a statement.
“The referee and the two judges of the fight, after having received the details from the experts commission, decided to change their decision and give victory to the Japanese. The IJF states that this is the final and right decision.”
On the first day of the games Park was temporarily disqualified for a false start.
He won his 400-meter freestyle heat and punched his ticket to the final but moments later a judge ruled he had started early.
Even though he was reinstated after intense video scrutiny, Park to wait out the decision for several hours instead of training. He later failed to defend his Olympic title.
All events in London are recorded so that the judges’ decisions can be checked in the case where there is a review or challenge to the original decision.