Category Archives: Asian Games

Boxer Sarita Devi gets a year’s ban

Asian Games bronze medalist L Sarita Devi heaved a sigh of relief on Wednesday as the world boxing body let her off with only a year’s suspension amidst speculation that she could be banned for life for refusing to accept the bronze medal at the Incheon Asian Games.

Sarita, who will be out of action until October 2015, has also been slapped with a fine of 1000 Swiss francs (Rs 66,000) by AIBA. However, in what is a huge setback for Indian boxing, the Indian team’s Cuban coach BI Fernandez has been banned for two years by AIBA and fined 2000 Swiss francs (Rs 132,000) for supporting Devi during her protest, Boxing India chief Sandeep Jajodia told the media on Wednesday. Fernandez is seen as the key man behind India’s resurgence in world boxing in the last decade and more.

Sarita’s personal coach Lenin Meitei has also been suspended for a year but chief coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu and Sagar Mal Dhayal were let off without any punishment. Taking the ban in her stride, Sarita, the Commonwealth Games silver medalist, said she was confident that AIBA would give her an opportunity to prove herself.

“I had a strong belief that AIBA would give me a chance and I am happy with their decision. One year will fly by very quickly. My aim is to win a medal in Rio Olympics and I am happy that I will be able to work towards it,” Sarita, who is nursing a fractured wrist, told TOI on Wednesday.

The lightweight boxer said she is not worried about being branded an undisciplined boxer. “I have always maintained good discipline in my career. The country has stood by me in a tough time and I know one good win will make everyone forget this episode. I just have to perform. I am focused and won’t let it go,” Sarita reassured.

The Manipuri boxer plans to make the most of the ban by focusing on her game. “I have been given an opportunity to focus on my game without any pressure. I plan to utilize this phase to work on my weaknesses by doing video analysis of my previous matches and that of my future opponents. For now, I am working on physical fitness and will begin proper training after recovering from wrist injury (by February),” she said. Sarita’s husband Thoiba Singh has been prohibited from entering a boxing venue during events for a period of two years.

“There were a lot of apprehensions that Sarita would get a life ban, especially after AIBA president CK Wu said that there would be zero tolerance. We tried to impress upon AIBA that this incident was an on-the-spot emotional outburst. But we have to appreciate that the international body works under some rules,” Jajodia said.

L. Sarita Devi


Mary Kom, Sarita Devi among Asian Games 2014 medalists from Manipur felicitated

The Manipur government has felicitated boxer M.C. Mary Kom and other six medal winners,and participants of the Incheon Asian Games, at a grand reception here. In the felicitation programme at the indoor stadium of Khuman Lampak Sports Complex Saturday evening, three gold medal winners, including five times world champion Mary Kom, received Rs.15 lakh each while four bronze medal winners received Rs.8 lakh each.

The other participants received Rs.2 lakh each. Governor K.K. Paul and Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh distributed the cash awards to the sportspersons. Besides Mary Kom (boxing), Kh. Kothajit and K. Chinglensana were the gold medallists who were honoured. They were in the Indian men’s hockey team, which got the gold medal by defeating Pakistan 4-2 through penalty shootout in the Games final.

The bronze medal winners from Manipur are Th. Chan Chan Devi and P. Sushila Devi (Women’s hockey team), Yumnam Sanathoi Devi (women’s sanda – 52 kg wushu) and L. Sarita Devi (boxing). Of the 517 members of the Indian contingent to the 17th Asian Games, Manipur accounted for 57 players. There were also five officials from Manipur who went to Incheon.

Okram Ibobi Singh, who also holds the sports portfolio, termed the players as “jewels of Manipur” and said his government was keen to give more cash incentives to the medal winners but the financial condition of the state did not permit him to be more liberal. Referring to the incident where Sarita Devi lost her semi-final bout to a South Korean opponent, Singh said: “The people of Manipur extended full support to her. I appreciate the maturity and sportsmanship shown by Sarita.”

Sarita had protested the judge’s decision to name the Korean as winner and accused the judges of bias. However, later she regretted this act. Sarita had refused to accept her bronze medal during the Games’ presentation ceremony after controversially losing her semi-final bout to Korean Ji-na Park. Disconsolate on the podium, Sarita hung the bronze around Park’s neck before walking away as a mark of protest.

After Mary Kom won a bronze in the London Olympics in August 2012, the Manipur government gave her a cash reward of Rs.75 lakh and promoted her to the post of superintendent of police (sports). The state government also allotted her two acres of land at Meitei Langol, near Imphal city, where she currently resides with her family.