Thursday, August 29, 2013

Immoral judges undermine sport's principles

I witnessed an extremely unprofessional  and unacceptable judgement by some judges at Judo World Championship Senior 2013  in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. It is not something new in sports. We talk about not tolerating any kind of discrimination in sports, and   even though we do  rarely  see any racist behavior by athletes or  judges, we  witness often a  "hidden" discrimination  by judges in  treating athletes  differently, favoring one over the other one. Almost with no exclusion, the athletes from  "poor" countries become victims of this unfair treatment by judges and lose the match. Especially in sports where the judges decide whom he or she wants to see win. In other words, it happens in sports where judges give the scores and make the decision. That includes boxing, wrestling, soccer (referee can refuse or give a penalty, or expel player etc.) or other sports with human involvement in decision making process.  One can "feel" the "taste" of certain judges sometimes when he or she favors particular athlete based on the color of the skin.

With 44 seconds left, Khashbaatar  (in white) was "awarded" three times with penalty for being more active, while defending Legrand  (in blue) stays "clean"
One suspects that whoever gives a favor to a  "rich-country-athlete", that judge will be "compensated" in some way later on. The question of how much and when should be kept secret, and nobody knows.  Who would like to receive  all the blaming and cursing on him/herself for upsetting an athlete for "no reason" and would put his/her credibility and prestige on risk?  The decision is not reversible and the judge is protected by the organization which pays the judge, so the athlete is the one who gets hurt badly. All his/her  efforts and dreams  are ruined. Especially in world class competitions, like World Championship or Olympic Games, "victimizing" of athletes fall hard on them for they have prepared long time for those important matches and had set a goal to achieve certain success. And it is ridiculous  when a stupid judge ruins the athlete's goal  by putting him/her at a disadvantage for own personal gain. And more stupid is the fact that the organization which hired the judge does nothing afterwards, and that is the reason why this kind of  "discrimination" still exists. The world organization of that particular sport is like encouraging this kind of behavior of  judges by keeping silent and doing nothing.

Ts. Khashbaatar (Mongolia)
Mongolian athletes fell  victim many times   to this kind of  discrimination for many years now and we couldn't do anything but to curse the judges and the organization which organized  the competition.
Latest victim was  Tsagaanbaatar Khashbaatar  who competed in weight category of 73 kg at Judo Senior World Championship 2013 in Brazil. His opponent was the French judoka  Ugo Legrand whom the judge did  a favor by punishing the Mongolian judoka in the beginning with 2 penalties within a  minute for "no reason".  The match ended scoreless, but  Tsagaanbaatar  was "defeated"  because of these  unjustified and excessive penalties  given by  the judge.  With that,  Tsagaanbaatar was  "robbed"  of his possibility maybe  to win in his  group B and qualify for the semifinal and then who knows what. He is a top athlete in his weight category and was a World Champion once.
With all due respect, I must say that Legrand went all the way to Silver thanks to the support and sympathy given  by certain judges, especially by the one who oversaw the  match with Khashbaatar.

U. Legrand (France)
The penalty score issue  needs to be addressed in judo because this was one of the most discussed and controversial  topic during this  Championship in Rio de Janeiro. Some judges gave to both athletes penalties at the same time when the one was clearly aggressive  and attacking,  while the other one avoided  fighting and stepped  back, defending. That is ridiculous. I don't mean the "false attack" and/or   pretending to be active.
One example: In the woman's 57 kg  repechage match between the Japanese Anzu Yamamoto and  the Slovene  Vlora Bedeti, Yamamoto got her second penalty score when she was  more active than her opponent,  being all over her. In contrary Bedeti got not punished for being passive. I see here a discrimination based on the color of skin. There is no other explanation, unless  there was   a bribery issue. This judge "robbed" the Bronze medal from Yamamoto and gave it to Bedeti by punishing the Japanese 3 times straight with the penalty (shido score). In the last minutes he gave Bedeti 2 penalties pretending he was fair to both. No, he wasn't!

With 55 seconds left, Yamamoto was punished with three penalties for doing all the hardwork and going forward 
The athletes representing "poor" countries or those who have a different skin color than one "prefer", must  be way too strong and capable of making scores any judge  cannot deny, in order to win  surely. That means, they should always keep in mind  that they have a disadvantage and have no chance to win unless they overpower their opponent. Both in boxing and wrestling, "poor" athletes must dominate if they want to win. The K.O is the  guarantee for  winning in boxing, for example. I am positive that not one  judge can declare an unconscious "rich" boxer as the winner. Our trainers should keep this in mind all the time and prepare their athletes to make them superior to others if they want to see some success. Being evenly strong like  the world class athletes alone does not guarantee a thing. We must dominate to overcome this discrimination if we want to make names in the world level. Unfortunately the officials in the world sport organisations do not enough to put an end to this unacceptable attitude shown by some judges again and again, so we shouldn't expect anything better or any improvement in near future. If there is no will, there will be no change.
Until then let's keep pretending that  we all don't tolerate any kind of discrimination in  sports and that everything is fair and just.

1 comment:

  1. This is just a pure principal of survival - strong and rich will bully the poor and weak. That's the pure human nature. And Mongolia isn't the only country on disadvantage from this.