NEW DELHI, Nov 23 (PTI): Boxer L Sarita Devi today got support from Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and Olympic bronze medallist pugilist Vijender Singh, who said that world body AIBA should take a lenient decision on her for refusing to accept her Asian Games medal after a controversial defeat.
Sarita’s career has been thrown into jeopardy after International Boxing Association (AIBA) chief Ching-Kuo Wu asserted that she would be heavily punished so much so that she can consider her career as good as over.
Sarita, who is currently serving a provisional suspension forcing her out of World Championships starting tomorrow, had refused to accept her bronze at the Games medal ceremony after losing the semifinal bout to host South Korea’s Park Ji-na.
“We will do whatever we can to support her (Sarita) and hope that the AIBA will take a lenient decision,” Sonowal said at the sidelines of the Grand Wrestling Championship here.
Vijender said that he would continue to support Sarita in her hour of crisis.
“As an athlete, I will continue to support her as I can understand why she reacted the way she did. As a boxer I know how tough it is to be denied like that. It was an emotional reaction to a very disappointing loss,” he said.
“Moreover, she has apologised to the AIBA, saying that she has committed a mistake. I think the AIBA should take a lenient view on her,” said Vijender, who was awarded membership of National Sports Club of India today along with Saina Nehwal, Sushil Kumar, Yogeshwar Dutt and MC Mary Kom.
Asked about Boxing India’s decision to serve show-cause notice to Sarita’s husband Thoiba Singh and her personal coach, Vijender said, “I don’t want to comment on that issue. It was the decision taken by the federation.”
He also said that he would be preparing to take part in next year’s World Championships.
“I will decide in which weight category I will fight in next year’s World Championships later on,” he added.
Sushil also lent support to Sarita and said that the government should back her to ensure that she continues her boxing career.