Chinese judges accused of favouritsm in Rathore’s event

August 13th, 2008 - 7:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Aug 13 (IANS) The Double Trap shooting event in which India’s Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore competed came under the scanner Wednesday with Australian Mark Russell charging the Chinese judges of cheating. Rathore, silver medallist four years ago in Athens, had failed to qualify for the finals Tuesday.

Russell alleged that the judges were influenced by a boisterous home crowd and helped local hope Hu Binyuan win the bronze medal in the event.

Russell, gold medallist at Atlanta, finished fifth in the event and told the Australian media that local judges had awarded a hit to Hu even though he missed the target.

“One of them (hits) he missed clearly,” Mark was quoted as saying.

“I don’t think anyone out there thought he hit it. If that had been for a gold medal, I would have been protesting.”

“The referees have to be in unison but there was a lot of doubt about a lot of the shots out there.”

“I am glad it wasn’t for a gold medal because that is all that this Games would have been remembered for unfortunately.”

When asked whether the judges deliberately favoured Hu, Russell said: “I’d hate to think that but you get the feeling out there, when someone clearly misses, all the shooters out there can tell if he missed or hit it.

“Everybody stopped.”

Russell said the judges may have been influenced by the boisterous crowd of 10,000 that cheered the Chinese shooters.

“The crowd were yelling and calling shots in and out. It was like a circus. It would have been a brave Chinese judge that would have put his hand up (to signify a miss).”

India’s Rathore, who won silver in Athens 2004 Olympics, failed to make it to the final, finishing 15th in the qualifiers with a score of 131. The Armyman shot a poor series of 43, 45, 43 to finish 15th. Rathore totalled 131, five points less than last qualifier for the six-man final.

Defending champion Sheikh Ahmed Al-Maktoum of the UAE was also eliminated in the qualifiers. He went out in a shoot-out after four, including Rusell, were tied at 136. Russell won the shoot-out, while Maktoum, William Chetcuti of Malta and Rolland Gerebics of Hungary lost in the tie-breaker.

In the final, 26-year-old American Walton Eller, who was 17th in 2004, won with a total of 190, including 45 in the final. The silver went to D Aniello Francesco of Italy with 187, comprising 141 in qualification and 46 in the final. Hu Binyan of China took the bronze with 184 (138 plus 46). Russell ended fifth with 181.

Claims of hometown advantage were also made at the National Indoor Stadium after China beat the United States to the women’s team gymnastics gold medal in front of a noisy Chinese crowd.

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