Olympic Games | The Guardian
A damning investigation into boxing at the 2016 Rio Olympics uncovered widespread evidence of “corruption, bribery and the manipulation of sports results” – with judges signaling each other on the ring to resolve bouts.
The report by Prof. Richard McLaren, who exposed government-sponsored doping in Russia, said the seeds of corruption had been sown in previous years, with fighting before and during London 2012 also being suspected.
McLaren noted that there was a culture of “favors” especially in post-Soviet countries.
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Fears of misconduct at the 2016 Olympics were debunked by the Guardian five years ago before a blow was even thrown – with senior officials saying that certain bouts in Rio were “no doubt” “corrupt.”
The Guardian was also told in Rio that a cabal of officials could use their power to manipulate the rating system to ensure certain boxers would win. In a speech in Lausanne on Wednesday, McLaren confirmed the Guardian’s story, saying that a handpicked team of high-ranking “five-star” referees and judges at the edge of the ring used signals or instructed colleagues on the morning of the bout who should win. In the meantime, incorruptible officials have been driven out of the sport with a screening process during the Rio qualifying competition.
Wu Ching-kuo (center), the Aiba President, with referees and referees after the final boxing session at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. Photo: Stephen McCarthy / Sportsfile / Getty Images
McLaren also said controversial defeats at the Rio Games for Briton Joe Joyce in the super heavyweight final against Frenchman Tony Yoka and Irishman Michael Conlan in his bantamweight quarter-finals against Russian Vladimir Nikitin were among the eleven fights under investigation.
McLaren said corruption had gone to the top, with two senior Aiba officials – Wu Ching-kuo and Karim Bouzidi, the then president and Karim Bouzidi, respectively.
Wu, who McLaren said had “ultimate responsibility for the failure of governance in Rio and the qualifying events,” was banned from the sport for life in 2018.
Bouzidi, however, was the chief architect of a plan, with McLaren saying he had “exercised the authority to oversee the appointment of umpires and judges (R&Js) who knew what was going on but would obey the tampering or who were incompetent, but wanted it ”. to continue doing R&J so we were ready to comply or turn a blind eye.
In his report, McLaren also revealed that alleged attempts were made to fix the result of the semi-final between Otgondalai Dorjnyambuu from Mongolia and Sofiane Oumiha from France with bribes of up to $ 250,000. No bribe was paid and the Mongolian boxer lost with a “very unusual score” that was identical on all five score cards.
McLaren also notes that the foundation for corruption in Rio was laid at the London 2012 qualifying events. “In 2010, Azerbaijan granted Aiba an investment loan of $ 10 million,” he writes. “This was followed by an additional $ 10 million loan from Kazakhstan. What followed was the R&Js felt the pressure to call fights for either the Azerbaijani or Kazakh boxers.
“Tampering resulting from the Azerbaijani loan infiltrated the London Games. Just before the Games, the BBC ran a story about money medals. The allegation was that Azerbaijan had been promised Olympic medals as a condition of the above $ 10 million loan. President CK Wu, always concerned about public perception, issued an executive order to ensure that Azerbaijan does not win medals.
“CK Wu’s fear was that if the Azerbaijanis had won, the documentary’s corruption allegations would have been correct. Hence, reverse manipulation had to be done to ensure that they did not win medals for public viewing. Azerbaijan felt betrayed by the end of London 2012. “
After the report was released, Conlan said he was “pleased” with the news. “It was five years ago and it was a long time coming. I didn’t expect this to happen.
Ireland’s Michael Conlan (right) reacts to his loss to Vladimir Nikitin of Russia in the quarterfinals of the Rio Olympics. Photo: Inpho / Shutterstock
“The black spot of Rio will always be there and I think if I hadn’t said and done what I did, it probably wouldn’t happen now,” he told BBC Northern Ireland. “I think it’s a great day for amateur boxing and especially for the guys who suffered in Rio, including me. It’s a justification. “
The new Aiba President Umar Kremlev, who commissioned the report, said in a statement that it would be adopted. “Aiba hired Professor McLaren because we have nothing to hide,” said President Kremlev. “We will work to take any helpful recommendations into account. We will also seek legal advice on what can be done against anyone involved in tampering. There should be no place in the Aiba family for someone who has set a fight. “
Further reports on the investigation will be presented by McLaren in November and then in March 2022.