News Analysis By Elmi Rizal Elias
KORAT, Dec 16 (Bernama) -- Complaints of biased judging in subjective sports has become a perennial problem each time a SEA Games takes place.
It appears to be a disease that is hard to eradicate even though the biennial sports meet for ASEAN entered its 24th edition here this year.
In this Korat SEA Games, things got so bad that during the silat competition between exponents from the host nation and the Philippines on Wednesday at the Sungnoen Municipal Hall here, there were incidents of chair and bottle throwing.
Malaysia too complained about biased judging in silat and weightlifting.
A case in example involved lifter Che Mohd Azrol Che Mat. The Malaysian camp were already shouting in joy that he had won the gold in the over 105kg category on Wednesday only for it to be shortlived when his last lift in the clean & jerk was disallowed on technicalities.
The contest with a lifter from the host nation ended in a tie and Che Mohd Azrol could only watch in disbelief as the gold was awarded to the Thai after a countback.
National Sports Council (NSC) director-general Datuk Zolkples Embong, who watched Malaysian silat exponents in action on Thursday, was clearly disappointed with the judging that day.
"It (biased judging) has become a common complaint, but at this Games, especially in silat, they have taken it to extremes.
"I feel pity for our athletes. They trained hard but are denied by poor judging. Maybe, after this we should just forget about taking part in subjective sports," he said.
Matters got to a head yesterday when four out of seven Filipino boxers who were to contest in finals, pulled out on the grounds of biased judging giving free wins to Thai boxers.
Also yesterday but in the taekwondo competition, Indonesia's Minister of Youth and Sports, Adhyaksa Dault, himself lodged protests about the poor quality judging he witnessed at the event's venue, the main hall of Vongchavalitkul University.
He later held a meeting with the organising committee's technical director for taekwondo on the matter.
During the last SEA Games in Manila two years ago, former Thai Pirme Minister Thaksin Shinawatra had also slammed the Philippines SEA Games organising committee over biased judging in favour of the hosts.
The SEA Games Federation (SGF) seriously needs to look into this matter before it becomes worse and cause disharmony in ASEAN.