Thais protest in controversial 5-1 hockey bronze medal loss to Myanmar

Myanmar's captain Win Than Htut (Centre) celebrates scoring a goal during the 28th SEA Games hockey preliminaries on June 6. The Thais protested in a controversial 5-1 hockey bronze medal loss to Myanmar on June 13. -- PHOTO: SINGAPORE SEA GAMES ORGA
Myanmar's captain Win Than Htut (Centre) celebrates scoring a goal during the 28th SEA Games hockey preliminaries on June 6. The Thais protested in a controversial 5-1 hockey bronze medal loss to Myanmar on June 13. -- PHOTO: SINGAPORE SEA GAMES ORGANISING COMMITTEE/ACTION IMAGES VIA REUTERS 

SINGAPORE- Upset with a penalty decision that went against them, the Thailand men's hockey team responded by substituting their goalkeeper and played the final 10 minutes of their bronze medal match defeat to Myanmar with 11 outfielders.

The Myanmarese secured third place at Sengkang Hockey Stadium after a 5-1 win and were quick off the mark, with winger Tun Thet Paing taking full advantage of the Thai's slack defending to fire home the underdogs' first shot on goal.

Tun continued to punish Thailand when he struck again in the 25th minute.

The Thais rallied to reduce the deficit to 2-1 through Samoethep Srilit in the 54th minute but throughout the game, they were continually disagreeing with the decisions made by umpires Aiderus Amin (Singapore) and Shaari Norisham (Malaysia).

The heated match came to a boil in the 60th minute when Myanmar were awarded a contentious penalty after Thailand goalkeeper Boonbut Wanchalerm had brought down Htwe Thet in the box.

After the protests had died down, Myanmar captain Win Than Htut duly converted the penalty.

In protest of the penalty, Thailand switched to an unorthodox tactic of playing with 11 outfield players for the final 10 minutes after withdrawing their goalkeeper. That duly invited Myanmar to pour forward and score in the 67th and 69th minutes through Htwe Thet and Zaw Hein Min to complete the humiliation.

 Thailand slammed the standard of umpiring in the competition and implored for better refereeing at the next Games in Malaysia.

 Narumon Siriwat, Thailand's team manager, said: "All we wanted was a clean game and not such calculated umpiring. We took off our keeper to show that we are a disciplined and because the umpiring standard was low since the very first day.

"I want to ask why we have such low-standard umpires. They have already spent so much money on this competition and they should have umpires from Europe who can improve the standard of hockey in Asia instead of these umpires. This judging system is unacceptable to us."

 ljeremy@sph.com.sg

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