The Jakarta Post
Youth and Sports Minister Imam Nahrawi rebuffed on Tuesday allegations from a Malaysian athlete who said that the judges cost him the gold medal in a bout against Indonesia.
Mohammad Al-Jufferi Jamari, the 2016 world champion, pulled out of the men’s 65-70kg final against Indonesia’s Komang Harik Adi Putra just two seconds before the fight ended despite the Malaysia team coach’s efforts to calm down his protégé. Apparently venting his anger over what he considered to be unfair scores, Al-Jufferi punched a hole in the wall of the warm-up area at the Pencak Silat Training Center in East Jakarta.
Imam said he regretted the way Al-Jufferi expressed his discontent and would discuss the matter with his Malaysian counterpart Syed Saddiq, who was in attendance for the martial art’s medal bout on Monday.
“I only heard about the incident just now. Of course I am very regretful of it and will talk to my friend Pak Saddiq to find a way to appease the athlete,” Imam said after accompanying President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to watch events at the Gelora Bung Karno Archery Field in Central Jakarta.
Imam said Al-Jufferi’s withdrawal from the match in the dying seconds was unfortunate, as athletes should put faith in the judges and respect their decisions. Accepting defeat, he said, was a display of sportsmanship.
“We give the liberty to the judges to carry out their duties as fairly as possible. Everybody knows the selection of judges rests with the Asian federations of each sport, rather than the host Indonesia,” Imam said.
He said Indonesia was unhappy with soccer referee Shaun Roberts Evan, who oversaw a second round match between Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates last week.
After Indonesia was knocked out of the competition on penalties, many blamed the defeat on the referee, who they accused of partiality.
Imam said despite the loss, Indonesian players and supporters maintained their composure and refrained from committing acts of vandalism.
Al-Jufferi said he could not accept the biased refereeing. “I’m not mad at my opponent or the supporters, but I’m mad because the judges didn’t award the points fairly,” he said, according to the Games’ official website.
The Malaysian controlled the early part of his fight against Komang, who fought back in the rest of the match to secure a 4-1 victory and the gold medal.
Harry Warganegara of the Indonesian Asian Games Organizing Committee told AFP Al-Jufferi was unlikely to be sanctioned because of his act.
“We think it was very unfortunate though we try to understand [what the athlete was going through],” he said. “But I don’t think there will be any sanctions.”
Nazif Najib, secretary-general of Malaysia’s National Olympic Committee, said he was waiting for a report from the organizing committee, but agreed it was unlikely he would be punished.
“We think it was an athlete’s response, he was emotional so there were no sanctions,” he told AFP.
Indonesia went on to sweep the competition, winning all eight golds on offer in pencak silat on Monday.