The punishment was expected to be harsh. Many were predicting the end of a promising career for Sarita Devi. Finally on Wednesday the AIBA announced a one year ban for Sarita. While it is still harsh, the ban leaves a window open for Sarita to qualify for the Rio Olympics in 2016 and puts an end to the fears of a life time ban.
As news report came in, it is learnt that Sachin Tendulkar wrote to the AIBA , requesting for leniency. Sachin has often been criticized for taking the less controversial route, but in this case the little Master has personally stepped in to help a fellow Indian sports person and it is indeed a commendable gesture.
The Sarita Devi saga – A short recap
Following a farcical decision of the ringside judges that went against Sarita in her Asiad semi final match, she made a protest on the podium by refusing to accept the bronze medal. Despite the fact that Sarita calmed down later and tendered an unconditional apology, Amateur International Boxing Association (AIBA) decided to provisionally suspend her along with her coaches.
Support for Sarita Devi
The boxer had received a lot of solidarity post her provisional suspension. Boxing India pleaded to AIBA to show leniency to the former World Championship gold medallist. Later on, Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and IOA also made a mercy plea for the Manipuri. Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar too has extended his full support to Sarita.
Earlier This Week – Sarita Devi received her Bronze Medal
Earlier last week , boxer Sarita Devi Devi was presented her 60kg weight category bronze medal at the IOA headquarters in New Delhi. Sarita received her Incheon Asian Games bronze medal from the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) secretary general Rajeev Mehta last Wednesday.
The Manipuri pugilist who was aggrieved at the ringside judges’ decision had refused to accept the medal during the presentation ceremony , held during the Incheon Asian Games.
Boxing India hopes come true
So with a one year ban, the efforts of Boxing India to ensure that Sarita escapes a long-term ban have borne fruit. BI secretary general Jay Kowli had earlier assured that they have been doing everything possible to soften AIBA’s stand on Sarita Devi.
“AIBA has been very firm on violation of rules from the very beginning and it takes serious view of disciplinary code violations. So, if you break rules, some actions will be taken against you,” Jay Kowli said.
”Our endeavour has been to soften AIBA and urge for a liberal view taking into account the circumstances and human side of the emotional outburst of Sarita so that her long term career is not affected,” Kowli added.
Sarita confident about making a good comeback
Even before the news of her ban, Sarita Devi, has been positive about returning to international competition after the overwhelming support she has received in the last few weeks. An upbeat Sarita Devi had recently stated,
“I am confident that I will be able to get back to boxing very soon. As of now, I am injured (with a wrist fracture) and I cannot do anything. Sports Minister, Sachin Tendulkar and the whole of India supported me and so I am confident that I will be able to take part in 2016 Rio Olympics and win a medal for my country,”
With this recent news, Sarita Devi has been given a lease of life and a shot at qualifying for the Olympics. One eagerly looks forward to seeing the ace Indian pugilist make her way back in the ring and on the winners podium. Hopefully this time around , Sarita will be winning medals based solely on her performance and not of the judges.