Team GB Boxer Under Fire For Refusing To Wear Silver Medal On Podium
Team GB boxer Ben Whittaker is facing criticism for refusing to wear his silver medal on the podium, pocketing it instead.
The 24-year-old was visibly emotional after his bout with Cuba’s Arlen Lopez, who secured a split-decision win. While his performance at the Kokugikan Arena earned plaudits from commentators, his post-fight reaction has soured his reception.
Instead of wearing the medal and standing proudly with Lopez on the podium, Whittaker put the medal in is pocket and barely joined in the celebrations before walking out of the ring.
‘Not a great look in the boxing men’s light heavyweight medal ceremony. Britain’s Ben Whittaker is so disappointed he refuses to put the silver medal around his neck and sticks it in his pocket instead. He then leaves the podium without acknowledging the others,’ Philip Crowther of Associated Press wrote.
‘Some of the worst sportsman like behaviour I’ve ever seen @BenGWhittaker losing the gold he refused to congratulate the winner and then put his medal in his pocket refusing to wear it on the podium. Too much pre fight bravado and can’t stand losing. Terrible role model,’ one viewer wrote.
‘No issues for me with Ben Whittaker being an arse on the podium and being gutted with second, however the lack of respect to his double Olympic champion made him look a right whopper,’ another commented.
Speaking after the fight, the boxer appeared to regret his prior actions. ‘I was doing it for everybody at home and I felt like a failure. At the time, I should have put this beautiful silver medal round my neck and smiled because this is not just for me, it’s for the country,’ he said, as per The Independent.
‘Even when I’m playing FIFA with my mates and I lose, I’m not talking to them for the next couple of hours – I’ve always been like that since I was a kid – so please accept that I wasn’t trying to be disrespectful to anyone. I wasn’t trying to take the shine away from Arlen’s moment but it hurt me so deep, and I felt so embarrassed.
‘I will look back on it later and think ‘what was I doing?’ But I would like to thank everyone for getting behind me. Every boxer doesn’t go in there to receive a silver medal, every boxer in my weight class wanted the gold. I woke up this morning truly believing it was my time,’ he added.
‘When I look back in a few years, it will probably feel like a great achievement, but I was so upset that I couldn’t enjoy it,’ Whittaker said.
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