The posterboy of Indian boxing Vijender Singh has come out in support of L Sarita Devi, who returned her lightweight (60 kg) bronze medal at the Incheon Asiad on Wednesday claiming she was denied victory in her semi-final against South Korean Ji Na Park.
The Manipuri refused to wear her bronze on the podium and instead handed it to Park at what turned out to be a dramatic victory ceremony.
While Vijender termed Sarita's actions to be her 'personal choice', he said that her emotional outburst was justified. "I've known Sarita for a long time.
She's a very good boxer and an even better human being. She is not someone to wrongly complain about anything. Returning the medal is her personal choice, but she cannot be questioned for her actions. We boxers put in our sweat and blood and to be denied our due, is unacceptable," Vijender told mid-day from his home in Gurgaon, Haryana yesterday.
L Sarita Devi in tears atop the victory podium on Wednesday
The Beijing Olympics bronze winner slammed international boxing authority AIBA's warped scoring system. "In the earlier points system, everyone — the boxer, ringside coaches as well as spectators — knew what was going on as the points flashed on the screen each time a boxer landed a punch on his opponent. But in the new system, no one knows anything till the round is over, so there is no scope to question the judges.
The existing points has to be changed. There must be transparency in the scoring system," said the 29-year-old 2010 Guangzhou Asiad gold medal-winning middleweight boxer.
Finally, the 2009 Milan World Championships bronze winner claimed that host nations are always favoured. "There's always a bias towards players or teams from the host nation at such Games. That can't be helped," he said.