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Whittaker regrets not wearing medal after feeling like a “failure”



Ben Whittaker insisted he meant no disrespect by putting his Olympic silver medal in his pocket at the medal ceremony.

The 24-year-old revealed he felt like a “failure” after losing in the men’s light-heavyweight final, having gone all the way at middleweight at Rio 2016.

He was in tears on the podium after being outclassed by Cuba’s Arlen Lopez, who was awarded a split decision win to become a two-time Olympic champion.

However, Whittaker’s actions afterwards overshadowed what was a fine performance by the slick southpaw, with the Briton refusing to wear his medal.

The Cuban had won on four of the five judges’ scorecards at the Kokugikan Arena.

Whittaker, who put the medal around his neck when speaking to the media, had no complaints with the decision.

He seemed regretful at what he had done moments before, admitting he was still feeling the pain of his points defeat.

“I was doing it for everybody at home and I felt like a failure,” he said. “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.

“Even when I’m playing FIFA (computer game) 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.

“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.”

Olawale Alabi

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