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Asiad controversy: Boxing India hints Sarita Devi may get some punishment

New Delhi: Boxing India today hinted that Sarita Devi may get some sort of punishment from AIBA but said that it was hoping for her to escape a long-term ban from the international federation so that her career is not affected much and she can compete in 2016 Olympics.

Sarita Devi
Sarita Devi

Sarita was provisionally suspended by by the world body (AIBA) after she refused to accept her medal following a controversial semifinal loss in the Asian Games.

The AIBA is yet to take a final call on the quantum of Sarita's punishment but Dr Wu has already made it clear that her career is "as good as over" despite tendering an unconditional apology for her actions.

"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," BI Secretary General Jay Kowli said at a press conference here.

"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," he said.

It is learnt that BI's effort now would be to take action against Sarita's husband Thoiba Singh and "private" coach Lenin Meitei as a "collateral" damage to save Sarita from a lengthy ban. Both Thoiba and Lenin have been served show cause notices by BI.

Sources also said that BI officials would take a strong view of the shoutings and ruckus created by Sarita's husband and coach during the incident in Incheon, saying that these kind of actions were uncalled for.

Asked about this, BI President Sandeep Jajodia did not give a direct answer but said that they will take action if Thoiba and Lenin were found to be guilty of rule violation.

"We are giving a chance to Thoiba and Lenin to explain their side of the story. We have given them 30 days time to reply and there are 10-12 days left. I don't want to jump the gun on something over which BI's Disciplinary Committee will take a decision. But if found guilty, we will take action.

"Field of play is a place which boxers can only enter just like in other sports. So, we will see how they (Thoiba and Lenin) have entered there," Jajodia said.

Sarita refused to comment on the likely action to be taken by BI on her husband and coach but said that she was confident that she would get back to boxing soon.

Asked about the show cause served by BI on his husband and coach, Sarita said, "I don't want to comment on that but I am confident that he (her husband) will get a fair chance to explain his position.

"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," she added.

She said she would have faced the situation which arose after her loss in the controversial semifinal bout better had there were officials to counsel her.

"I was alone and I was really disappointed after losing the semifinal bout which I thought I won. I have won medals for the country for 14 years and have been Asian champion five times. I was confident I would win a gold in Asian Games. But after the semifinal loss I could not control myself. Had there been other officials to give me advice, I might have acted in a better manner," she said.

Jajodia said that the situation arising out of Sarita's controversial semifinal loss could have been handled in a better way.

"I don't want to sit on judgement of IOA officials or others. We don't know what exactly happened in Incheon as we were not at the scene at that time and the boxers were selected by the IOA's ad hoc committee. But I feel the situation would have been handled in a better way," he said.

BI claimed that its officials have been able "to touch the right cord" with AIBA officials at the recent world body congress when they explained the "human side" of Sarita's emotional outburst at the medal ceremony of the Incheon Asian Games.

"We met AIBA chief Dr. Wu and also the chairman of Disciplinary Commission at the sidelines of AIBA Congress and we explained to him the circumstances that led to the incident. We were able to touch the right cord with the AIBA officials," Kowli said.

"We explained that Sarita was alone with no federation officials (as IABF was suspended then) and there was no team manager and coach. We said that she comes from a humble background and it was a one-off incident," he added.

Asked if Sarita will be able to take part in 2016 Olympics if AIBA hands her a ban, Kowli hinted that a punishment for a short period would give her a chance for Rio.

"There are no qualifying tournament for Rio in near future. There will be just one qualifying tournament and that will happen later in 2016. In the meantime she can start training after recovering from her injury," he said.

Jajodia also informed that BI has applied for recognition from the Sports Ministry and the Indian Olympic Association.

"We have got permanent affiliation from the AIBA. We are the sole body in the country to apply (to IOA) to run the sport in the country after a free and fair elections. I hope both the government and the IOA give us recognition to us soon.

"We have submitted all the documents to the government and the IOA. We have have support from 33 state units and three service boards. I don't know why it is taking time but I feel it is under process," he added.

Kowli said that BI will not "gate-crash" into the IOA Annual General Body to be held in Chennai on December 19 if the federation was not granted recognition by then and not invited for the AGM. He said that Men's National Championships will be held in January next year.

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