Asian Games: Track, medal, doping rows cloud day 12 of competition

The pack races during the men's 800m final at the Incheon Asiad Main Stadium during the 17th Asian Games on Oct 1, 2014. All three top finishers in the men's 800 metres final were disqualified and an aggrieved Indian boxer turned down her bronze
The pack races during the men's 800m final at the Incheon Asiad Main Stadium during the 17th Asian Games on Oct 1, 2014. All three top finishers in the men's 800 metres final were disqualified and an aggrieved Indian boxer turned down her bronze medal as disputes flared at the Asian Games on Wednesday. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

INCHEON (AFP) - All three top finishers in the men's 800 metres final were disqualified and an aggrieved Indian boxer turned down her bronze medal as disputes flared at the Asian Games on Wednesday.

Malaysia also refused to return a gold medal over a failed drug test, and a Syrian karateka became the fifth athlete caught doping in a day of discord at Asia's Olympics.

Indian women's boxing icon Mary Kom was a big winner as she won a split decision in a tight flyweight final to claim her first Asian Games gold, buoying her hopes for the 2016 Olympics.

Qatar's former Nigerian Femi Ogunode completed a sprint double when he won the 200 metres in a Games record 20.14sec, to add to his new Asian mark of 9.93sec in the 100m.

But controversy broke out in the men's 800m when Abdulaziz Mohammed, Musaab Bala and Abraham Kipchirchir Rotich, who finished one, two and three, were all disqualified.

The Incheon Asiad's official website said Saudi Mohammed was disqualified for obstruction, while Qatar's Bala and former Kenyan Rotich of Bahrain were penalised for breaking lane regulations.

The drama comes just days after Bahrain's Ruth Jebet, also formerly of Kenya, was stripped of her steeplechase win as she was about to step onto the victory podium, only to be reinstated the next day.

India rejoiced as Kom finally got an Asian Games gold. But the spotlight fell on Indian team-mate Sarita Devi, who flatly rejected her lightweight bronze in an angry protest against judging standards.

Devi, who was controversially judged beaten by South Korea's Park Ji Na in the semi-finals, walked to the podium in tears and refused to accept her bronze medal from officials.

She then walked over to Park and, as the South Korean fighter bowed in greeting, she placed the bronze medal around her neck.

"I said, 'This is for you and all Korea, because you only deserve a bronze,'" Devi told AFP afterwards.

"It was a protest for all the sportsmen and women of the world against injustice in sport. There should be fair play in sport."

Afterwards organisers had to send a volunteer to retrieve the medal, which was abandoned on the podium.

Incheon Asian Games Organising Committee members present were offended by Devi's gesture, a spokesman told AFP.

"If she wanted to refuse the medal she should have not come to the ceremony," the spokesman said.

Syria's karate fighter Nour-Aldin al-Kurdi, 19, became the fifth athlete snared in the doping net when he tested positive for clenbuterol.

But Malaysia lodged an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport and refused to hand back a gold medal after wushu winner Tai Cheau Xuen failed a drugs test.

According to reports, the Malaysian delegation believes her sample may have been accidentally switched with another athlete's.

As Afghanistan's men's cricketers reached the semi-finals with victory over Nepal, the war-torn country's head of the sport invited top nations to tour.

"I am telling the players to come to my country and play there, they will treasure those memories for ever," Afghanistan Cricket Board chairman Shahzada Masoud told AFP.

Shi Tingmao won the women's 1m springboard and He Chao took out the men's equivalent as China progressed to six diving medals, four away from a perfect 10.

Rhythmic gymnast Son Yeon Jae failed to inspire South Korea to team gold, but Asia's leading exponent remained favourite for the individual title on Thursday.

And South Korea's women edged out China 1-0 to take the field hockey gold. China reached 130 golds overall, ahead of 62 for South Korea.