Suspension, message to truant players

Suspension, message to truant players

By provisionally suspending Indian boxer Sarita Devi, the International Boxing Association (AIBA) has sent out a clear message that it won’t tolerate indiscipline.

This is a welcome move as Sarita, by her appalling behaviour at the Incheon Asian Games, had embarrassed India and brought the game to disrepute. As she cried foul at the judging that deprived her of a shot at the gold medal, Sarita not just turned down the bronze medal when it was presented after the bout, but draped it over her South Korean conqueror shocking the audiences.

The world body has acted swiftly against the irresponsible act and the suspension comes as a warning to those unwilling to take officiating decisions with grace and react by throwing tantrums that are unacceptable in a sporting sphere. With the issue now in front of AIBA’s Disciplinary Commission, Sarita looks set to miss the World Championships in South Korea next month, putting her career at the crossroads.

This is a right punishment for the kind of abominable behaviour she indulged in at the Games. She continued to defend her petulant action, was adamant saying that she was willing to cope with any punishment and wasn’t worried about the future course of her career. She had projected herself as a martyr until wisdom dawned on her when she apologised for her action.

Apart from Sarita, three coaches – chief coach Gurbux Singh Sandhu, Cuban coach B I Fernandez and Sagar Mal Dhayal – have been suspended from all competitions by AIBA pending a review by its disciplinary panel. Also suspended was Adille J Sumariwalla, India’s Chef de Mission at the Games, though the AIBA has no authority to act against him. However, no reasons have been given for their suspension but it was obviously for not restraining the truant boxer.

 The move to suspend the three coaches is set to affect India badly. The country had only recently got back into the international boxing fold through the formation of Boxing India, after the previous governing body, the IABF, was suspended for manipulation of its elections two years ago.

 The country’s boxers are hit badly by that suspension, with lack of exposure tours affecting their performances as evidenced by the unimpressive haul of one gold and four bronze medals at the Incheon Asian Games. The way ahead looks bumpy once again, thanks to Sarita’s imprudent ways as well as AIBA’s strong stance, driving home the point that indiscipline won’t take you anywhere.