Thursday, August 7, 2008

New scoring system at the Beijing Games

New scoring system at the Beijing Games
Amateur boxing is in the process of going through a change and the Beijing Olympics will see a major test of the new initiatives taken by International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) to ensure fairness in judging and safety.

Kishen Narsi, an international technical official (on a jury) at the Beijing Games, is sure that the changes will go down well with the boxers. “The AIBA wants boxers to feel confident, and referees and judges should feel no pressure,” said Narsi, on the eve of departure for Beijing, where his task will be to monitor the performances of referees and judges.

The boxing event at Athens in 2004 saw controversy erupt, following the rejection of Greece’s protest against the quarterfinal defeat of light heavyweight Elias Pavlidis to Egypt’s Ahmed Ismail. Greek fans hurled plastic water bottles when the referee stopped the fight in the third round after Pavlidis received a cut over his left eye. The International Olympic Committee even withheld AIBA’s share of $1,000,000 in television, over concerns on the open scoring system, the appointment of judges and the system of selection for referees and judges.

In the wake of all this, president Ching-Kuo Wu, who took over the AIBA in 2006, formed a reform committee in December same year to review all issues related to amateur boxing and the AIBA organisation, and recommend changes. IOC supported the move by releasing $400,000 of the frozen TV revenue in April 2007, following $300,000 released earlier.
No ambiguity

The boxing event at Beijing will be conducted on the Swiss Timing system, revealed Narsi. The system creates a draw for referees and judges, draws out bout sheets and performs the scoring electronically. “The Swiss Timing system displays round-by-round scores along with the time when a scoring blow was recorded. Variations in timings would indicate the level of alertness among judges officiating a particular bout, and whether they are able to see the scoring blow or not,” Narsi said.

“Olympics should be about clean boxing — scoring blows deciding the outcome of bouts and (eliminating) foul blows,” said Narsi, one of AIBA’s executive committee members.

“When deciding the appointment of referees and judges (for Beijing), we have taken care to avoid conflict of interest, not just nationality-wise; we have also considered the continent to which the boxers and bout officials belong. We are taking all measures to ensure impartiality, at the same time taking care to see that there is no pressure on referees and judges when taking decisions.”
Surprises in store

The Beijing games may see the emergence of a new world order in boxing, says the Mumbai-based official.

“For the first time, Cuba does not have a boxer in all 11 weight categories — there is no Cuban in the light heavyweight (81kg) class. Russia is the only nation competing in all events,” he said.

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