Sarita lucky to escape life ban
There was some drama inside the ring as well in 2014. L Sarita Devi was handed a one-year ban for rejecting her bronze medal at the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, in October. However, there was a lot of heartbreak as well when Sarita lost controversially in the Asian Games semifinals despite dominating her bout against South Korean Ji-Na Park. The defeat caused a massive furore with Sarita breaking down in tears and crying foul after settling for the bronze medal. Things came to a head when the Manipuri, sobbing bitterly on the podium, refused to accept the medal and tried to put it around her semifinal rival’s neck. The behaviour was roundly condemned by the organising committee and the AIBA. The Indian had to ultimately tender unconditional apologies to both the bodies after being defiant for some time. Later, India’s combined sporting might was thrown in to defend the boxer with even Sachin Tendulkar and sports minister Sarbananda Sonowal writing letters to AIBA chief Ching Kuo Wu, pleading for leniency. The apologies and explanations, however, could not save her from a ban and she was suspended from competition for one year, a punishment that would end in October 2015.