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Uproar at Asian Games as Badminton and Boxing Teams Cry Foul
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The Asian Games were plagued by controversy here Wednesday after dubious judging decisions brought an angry boycott by Indonesia's badminton players and claims of biased officiating in the boxing ring.

There were extraordinary scenes in the men's team badminton gold medal match, eventually won by host nation South Korea after a two-hour interruption caused by a dramatic Indonesian protest.

The flashpoint occurred when Indonesia's star singles player Taufik Hidayat reacted angrily when a call from a South Korean line judge went against him at a crucial stage of his opening singles rubber against Shon Seung-Mo.

Hidayat, who had also seen several other questionable decisions go against him, stormed off court as the Indonesian management remonstrated angrily with tournament officials.

There followed a two-hour break before play resumed, where the game had halted, with Hidayat trailing 13-15, 9-12.

Even then there was still time for more controversy, two terrible decisions against the Indonesian forcing him to down his racquet again.

Though on that occasion a point was reversed in his favour, it was all in vain and South Korea wrapped up a 3-1 victory in the fourth rubber.

"We felt there were some deliberate bad calls and Hidayat didn't want to play," Indonesian manager Christian Hadinata explained.

Hadinata had warned before the final that there could be a repeat of the notorious 1986 Asian Games semi-final between Indonesia and South Korea, which saw the Indonesians fall victim to poor officiating.

The badminton furore came as several boxing coaches complained bitterly about the outcome of bouts involving South Korean fighters.

Although judges are neutral in the Asian Games boxing tournament, coaches from Thailand and Jordan complained that decisions had favoured South Korean fighters.

Jordanian heavyweight Yousef Hasan slumped onto the canvas and cried after he was ruled to have lost his quarter-final against the hosts' Lee Hyun-Song by three points.

The 23-year-old from Amman was still sobbing in the locker room later as the quarter-finals ended.

The Thais had earlier howled foul after a referee stopped a lightweight quarter-final bout midway through the second round to send Baik Jong-Sub into the semi-finals and former Asian youth champion Sayota Pichai to the scrapheap.

The 22-year-old Thai smiled quizzically as he headed into his corner, trailing his South Korean opponent by 15 points.

"It's disgusting, I'm very upset about it," the Thais' Cuban trainer Ismael Salas told AFP, although he ruled out a protest, saying^The Jordanian trainer Omar al-Majali was also livid after seeing Hasan denied victory.

"My boy wants to know why he lost. He was so far ahead on points. You ask anybody in boxing," he told reporters.

"I know the refereeing in Korea is not very good, but because he was so far ahead on points I was sure my boxer had won."

The controversies in the boxing and badminton arenas overshadowed another day of glory for athletes from the Gulf in track and field.

Triple jumper Salem al-Ahmadi won Saudi Arabia's fourth gold and in the 400m Hamdan al-Bishi took silver in a desperate finish in which he was caught on the line by Fawzi al-Shammari of Kuwait.

The third day of track and field produced seven finals, with China winning three, and the others shared between four Arab countries -- Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

(China Daily October 10, 2002)

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