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Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games

Controversies involving Indian athletes that raised eyebrows at Asian Games 2023

Published at :October 21, 2023 at 2:49 PM
Modified at :December 13, 2023 at 1:01 PM
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(Courtesy : Screenshot/Sony LIV)

Gourav Samal


Bhavani Devi was a round away from scripting history.

The Indian contingent concluded the Asian Games 2023 on a remarkable note, achieving the highest number of medals ever attained by the country at the quadrennial extravaganza, amounting to a total of 107 medals. In spite of the widespread admiration bestowed upon the athletes who achieved success for their nation, there were some athletes who encountered struggles both on and off the field in pursuit of their rightful recognition.

Despite the emergence of several controversies during or after the matches, Indian athletes have consistently demonstrated unwavering dedication to upholding the principles of fairness and making the right calls.

In this article, we will look at some of the controversies that emerged in the recently concluded Asian Games 2023.

Jyothi Yarraji in Women’s 100m Hurdles

The first and foremost controversy that will come to mind is the controversy related to Indian 100m hurdler Jyothi Yarraji. Chinese athlete Yanni Wu, competing in lane 4 in the final, experienced a false start during the women’s 100m hurdles final. However, to the astonishment of onlookers, the officials erroneously issued a disqualification card to India’s Jyothi Yarraji, who was in the adjacent lane.

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However, the Indian athlete did not withdraw her challenge and asked to review the replays. Following the protest from the Indian athlete, the officials conducted another review and rectified their decision, resulting in the reinstatement of Jyothi and the disqualification of Wu.

Jyothi secured the third position and was provisionally slated to be awarded the bronze medal. However, the final result sheet invalidated Wu's standing, leading to Jyothi being recognized with the silver medal instead.

Bhavani Devi (women's sabre)

The other Indian women athlete who had to face such a situation was fencing star Bhavani Devi. Although she made it to the knockout round, she had to face defeat from China’s Yaqi Shao.

During the initial phase, the Chinese enjoyed a considerable lead of 7-2. However, Bhavani Devi did express concerns regarding certain decisions made by the referee, although unfortunately, none of her appeals yielded positive outcomes during that particular match. Subsequently, Bhavani acknowledged that some of the referee's rulings had indeed affected her concentration, ultimately resulting in her defeat.

Neeraj Chopra and Kishore Kumar Jena in men’s javelin throw

India’s star athlete, Neeraj Chopra had to face a situation of controversy. And not just him, the other Indian Javelin thrower in the event Kishore Kumar Jena was also not barred from it. Neeraj Chopra commenced his endeavor with a remarkable launch. However, to his astonishment, the throw did not register as the official adjudged that the subsequent athlete had promptly executed his throw.

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Kishore Jena, who secured silver in the event, faced an erroneous foul call during his second throw. However, upon reviewing the replays, it became evident that the call was incorrect. Both Kishore and Neeraj Chopra expressed strong objections and managed to convince the officials to annul Jena's attempt. Despite this action, the registered mark remained unaffected by the decision.

However, both athletes remained determined and exhibited unwavering dedication. Notably, Neeraj delivered an extraordinary performance in his final throw, securing the top position while Kishore finished second.

Men’s kabaddi team

In the final moments of the final, India's Pawan Sehrawat took a high-stake gamble, entering the lobby area with the scores tied at 28-28. Unfortunately, Pawan failed to make contact with any Iranian defenders and inadvertently stepped out of bounds. Meanwhile, just before the opposing team could attempt to tackle him, Amirhossein Bastami also exited the mat, disqualifying his ability to engage the opposing raider.

According to the regulations of the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL), in the event that a raider enters the lobby area without making contact with any defender, they are considered out and the raid concludes. Alternatively, they may be forcefully pushed out of bounds.

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However, as per the guidelines stipulated by the International Kabaddi Federation (IKF), if a raider enters the lobby without being touched, but remains within the playing area and subsequently gets touched by defenders, both the defenders who leave the playing area and the raider are deemed out of play.

There were extensive deliberations between the coach of the Indian team and the video referee, and ultimately, the matter was resolved by the International Kabaddi Federation (IKF) and the Asian Games authorities. As a result of three Iranian defenders successfully eliminating Pawan, the Indian team was awarded three points, while Iran received one point. This outcome led to the Indian team securing the gold medal with a victory margin of 33-29.

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