OCA may go soft on boxer Sarita

'Spur of the moment decision'

OCA may go soft on boxer Sarita

Despite Sarita Devi causing one of the most shocking moments in the history of the Asian Games when she refused to accept her bronze medal in protest against poor officiating, India’s Chef-de-Mission Adille Sumariwala felt the Olympic Council of Asia will be sympathetic towards the pugilist and the country.

“I spoke to the OCA this morning and they kind of sympathised with the entire incident,” Sumariwala told Deccan Herald. “While they regretted the incident completely, calling it unsporting, they know what could have prompted Sarita to take such a drastic step.

“I explained to the OCA on what made her do such a shocking thing. They said they won’t remove the medal from India’s tally. The medal stays with India, just that it is with OCA for safe-keeping after Sarita decided not to take it.”

On Wednesday, Sarita had stunned everyone when she rejected the medal at the victory ceremony, leaving world body AIBA fuming and organisers of the Games embarrassed.“I spoke to her last evening and she said she did such a thing because of previous incidents. Twice in the past she was denied victory under controversial circumstances and all that added to the rage.

“This was a very important tournament for her and she was determined to win the gold. She felt she deserved to win as she had completely dominated her opponent. The decision by the judges broke her heart. All that stirred up emotion burst out like a volcano at the podium. She also said she regrets the incident.”

Sumariwala felt Sarita could have handled the issue in a better manner. “Boxing is one sport that is plagued by judging controversies. At the 1986 Asian Games in Seoul, 12 bouts were handed to the Koreans. There is a platform to raise protests and it could have been done that way, instead of drawing the world’s eyes on India.

“That’s why I feel every team needs a manager. Boxing India gained AIBA’s approval just days before the Games and they have no manager here. The coaches are doing double duty.”

 Meanwhile, Deputy Secretary of the Organising Committee Son Cheon-taik expressed his disappointment over the entire incident in a press conference earlier in the day. “We wanted to promote communication and respect and a unified Asia.

We trained all the judges to be fair. However, I feel disappointed that it turned out like this. Amateur boxing may be different from what the spectators see, and the decisions made by judges may be different from what people expect. Especially in boxing, it’s not only about how much he or she hits a person, but about his or her overall performance. I feel embarrassed Korean athletes were part of the controversial decisions.”

“She needs to respect the official ruling and show sportsmanship. Her actions were not sportsman-like. The OCA is working on the review of the medal, whether or not to give it to her or confiscate it. So they are deciding what to do with it,” he added.

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