Veteran Lenny D’Gama will be the lone Indian Technical Official at the Olympics boxing competition in Tokyo where he, along with two others, will be responsible for the evaluation of referees and judges. D’Gama will leave for the Japanese capital this evening, having fulfilled the COVID-19 related protocol requirements, an official source told PTI. Nine Indian boxers — five men and four women — will be fighting it out for medals at the showpiece that gets underway on July 23 with the boxing competition starting the next day.
The 67-year-old is an experienced technical official from Goa, who has decades of experience as a referee/judge. He has officiated at several world and continental championships. Most recently, he was an evaluator at the Asian Championships in Dubai in May. D’Gama will be part of a three-strong International Technical Officials’ team in Tokyo which will take turns to evaluate the referees and judges during the bouts to ensure accountability. “It is a great thing that Lenny is going. Having your country’s presence in this panel is always seen as a matter of prestige," said Brig (retd) P K M Raja, who has been a technical official as well and was a referee/judge at the 2004 Athens Olympics.
According to the International Boxing Association’s (AIBA) referee and judges regulations, an evaluator is mandated to assess the referee during the competition, calculate the evaluation score and provide immediate feedback if required. The judges’ evaluator has to also score the bout, assess the results of each judge per round/bout and “calculate the evaluation score".
The three evaluators will be reporting to Technical Delegate Wayne Rose from Australia. The Technical Delegate is the person responsible for ensuring that the competition follows the laid down rules. “This evaluation system by the IOC is to ensure that there is no repeat of the Rio problems. It was also there at all the three Olympic qualifiers," the source said. Despite being introduced by AIBA at its events, the bout review system will not be in place for the Tokyo Games.
The AIBA was suspended in 2019 for alleged mismanagement in governance and finances. The IOC took over the conduct of the Games and the qualifying tournaments for it at that point. The turn of events was the result of a massive judging scandal in the 2016 Rio Olympics after which 36 referees and judges had to step aside.
Irish bantamweight boxer Michael Conlan’s dubious loss to Russia’s Vladimir Nikitin in the quarterfinals was a huge scandal that rocked the Games. Conlan famously quit amateur boxing after an expletive-laden outburst against the referees and judges. Nikitin could not compete in the semifinals because of the injuries he sustained during the brutal clash against Conlan. “Current AIBA Executive Committee members, AIBA National Federation (NF) Presidents, AIBA NF Secretaries General and R&Js who were selected for the Olympic Games Rio 2016 were not considered in the TD, ITO and R&J selection process," The IOC Task Force has stated. “Former AIBA Executive Committee members in the past three (3) years were also not part of the selection process," it added. In the past, India’s technical officials at Olympic boxing events have included the likes of veteran Kishan Narsi.
The AIBA has reopened an inquiry into the 2016 Games and has vowed to ban all those for life who were responsible for the scandal.