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Sarita Devi suspended for dramatic Asiad protest

Sarita Devi suspended for dramatic Asiad protest
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Taking a strict action, AIBA {International Boxing Association (amateur)} has provisionally suspended India’s woman boxer Laishram Sarita Devi for refusing to accept the bronze medal at the Asian Games podium ceremony.

Protesting against a controversial verdict, Sarita in an unprecedented move, had refused to wear the medal around her neck as she broke down on the podium during the ceremony for the 57-60 kg category. ‘The AIBA also provisionally suspended Sarita’s coaches (Messrs Gurbakhsh Singh Sandhu, Blas Iglesias Fernandez and Sagar Mal Dhayal) as well as Indian chef-de-mission in the Incheon Asiad, Adille J Sumariwalla and will not allow any of them to participate at all levels of competitions, events and meetings until further notice,’ an AIBA statement said.

This case has been sent for review by AIBA disciplinary commission and it means that Sarita Devi, the above mentioned coaches as well as Sumariwalla, will not be allowed to participate in the AIBA women’s world boxing championships in Jeju Islands (Korea), 2014, the statement added.

The 29-year-old boxer accepted the medal in her hand and wiped her tears holding it, before handing it to South Korean silver medallist Ji-Na Park, who had defeated Sarita after what seemed to be a ‘bad’ referee decision. Even though the AIBA had taken note of her written apology, the international body surprisingly decided to suspend the boxer and the national coaches. Reacting to her suspension, Sarita said she is unaware of the development and will only act when she gets a formal word from AIBA. ‘I have not received any communication from AIBA as of now. When I will see the letter, I will decide what I have to do,’ Sarita said.

On the other hand, coach Sandhu was optimistic about the situation and said the matter will be resolved soon. ‘We have got the notice from AIBA and we have to reply to it in 7 days time. We are preparing our reply and hopefully the matter will be resolved,’ said Gurbakhsh Sandhu.

Former sports minister Ajay Maken termed the suspension ‘unfortunate’ and asked the Centre to take up the matter at the highest international level. ‘It is very unfortunate. The IBF, sports ministry and all concerned authorities should have the guts to take it up at the highest level, including with the International Olympic Committee,’ Maken said.

‘All sports organisations should take it up very seriously. As far as my views are concerned, the entire boxing fraternity should stand behind the boxers,’ Maken said.
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