Sarita Devi matter lands in OCA doorsteps

Sarita Devi matter lands in OCA doorsteps

Sarita Devi matter lands in OCA doorsteps

The organising committee of Asian Games today said that Indian boxer L Sarita Devi's refusal to accept her bronze medal during the ceremony was "regretful and against the spirit of sportsmanship" and the matter has now landed in the doorsteps of Olympic Council of Asia.

"The refusal to accept the medal by Indian boxer Sarita Devi was regretful and against the spirit of sportsmanship. The matter has gone to the working group of the Olympic Council of Asia who would decide on the matter now," said Games organising committee's deputy secretary general, Cheon-taik Son, at the morning media briefing.

Light weight woman boxer Sarita, who was robbed off a shot at gold due to poor ring-side judging despite totally dominating her semi final bout on September 30 against her South Korean opponent Jina Park, did not allow the medal to be hung around her neck at the medal ceremony.

After accepting it by hand, she hung it around the neck of silver medallist Park, who controversially defeated her in the semi finals, and left the podium without the medal which was left behind by the Korean too.

"The working group of OCA would decide on the matter and it also depends on the athlete," said Son.

"It's very regretful this has happened and against the goal of Asian unity we had set ourselves for ahead of the Games. It was also against the spirit of sportsmanship and the action showed disrespect to the other athletes. It was a very unfortunate incident," he said.

"We have ensured that there's no such thing as home advantage in these Games. Still boxing is a very subjective sport. The spectators might see blood on a boxer's face but it could be different from the judges' count of scoring punches."

"There have been a lot of protests in boxing but no formal complaints have been lodged. We have written to AIBA. It's unfortunate that it happened in a game where a Korean was involved."

It has been learnt that the OCA is very unhappy over the incident and after a meeting of its working group, a strongly worded formal letter is being sent to the head of the Indian Games contingent Adille Sumariwalla.

The boxer has visually protested over what she perceived as injustice to her and the boxing coach, G S Sandhu, too lodged a written protest, which was rejected by the boxing authorities. The surprising fact, though, is that no word has come from either the Indian Olympic Association or the Indian contingent.

Son indicated he expected a protest to be received from the IOA. "I understand a protest is being lodged by IOA," he said.

Sumariwalla, however, denied it and said his primary concern was to see that Sarita Devi and Sandhu, who had signed the protest letter against the judges, do not get a life ban.

"My priority is to see that Sarita and the coach don't get banned for life," he said.

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