'This is shameful': Olympic boxer divides over 'foolish' podium act

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·Sports Reporter
·6-min read
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British boxer Ben Whittaker (pictured left) not wearing his silver medal on the podium at the Tokyo Olympic Games.
British boxer Ben Whittaker (pictured left) caused a stir for not wearing his silver medal during the medal ceremony at the Tokyo Olympics. (Image: @NickHopeTV)

British boxer Ben Whittaker has caused a stir after opting not to wear his silver medal on the podium in Tokyo after falling agonisingly short of gold.

Arlen Lopez won gold in the men's light heavyweight category at the Tokyo Olympics after defeating Whittaker in the final.

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However, Whittaker was visibly devastated following the fight.

The medal ceremony took place only moments after the bout and when presented with his second place award, Whittaker didn't place it around his neck.

Instead, Whittaker put it down by his side and appeared in tears.

When the boxers on the podium took a photo to celebrate their achievements, Whittaker stood back.

He then joined the other boxers, but cut a solemn figure in the corner.

Whittaker later explained his disappointment and said he felt like a 'failure' to the BBC.

"You don't win silver, you lose gold. I'm very disappointed - I feel like a failure," he said.

"You're in this game to win gold. I don't want to feel like this again. I'm going to put this to the back of my mind.

"I'll come back, trust me."

Ben Whittaker's podium act divides fans

Whittaker's post-match act on the podium and the interview certainly divided fans.

Many felt Whittaker showed poor sportsmanship in not accepting his medal with grace.

While others felt for Whittaker had showed his mentality is that of a winner and a boxer.

Whittaker later apologised for his behaviour.

โ€œI 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, itโ€™s for the country,โ€ he said.

Regardless, Whittaker looks like a real prospect and the 25-year-old will be one to look out for as he turns professional.

Watch 'Mind Games', the new series from Yahoo Sport Australia exploring the often brutal mental toil elite athletes go through in pursuit of greatness:

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