Govt to back Sarita, says minister

Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal Wednesday said the Indian go­­v­er­nment will appeal to the International Boxing Association (AIBA) to reconsider its decision of suspending L Sarita Devi, following her refusal to accept the bronze medal at the 2014 Asian Games medal ceremony.

Sonowal said the government will extend all necessary help to the suspended boxer, and noted that Sarita is getting all necessary help from Boxing India.

“On behalf of the Government of India, we will take up the matter with AIBA. We will request them to to reconsider her case. India will always be grateful to Sarita for what she has done for the country and she has our full backing,” Sonowal said.

Indian cricket legend Sa­chin Tendulkar, who met Sonowal on Wednesday to discuss Sarita’s international ban, said the entire country should stand behind the boxer.

“I appeal to the entire country to be behind Sarita Devi,” Tendulkar said after the meeting. “The discussion with the sports minister was on how to move forward and request AIBA to be lenient on Sarita. Sarita's career should not be jeopardised."

Olympic bronze medallists M C Mary Kom and Vijender Singh, Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president N Ramachandran, Boxing India president Sandeep Jajodia and coach G S Sandhu were also present in the meeting.

“I understand what she went through as a sportsperson. She has apologised. AIBA should reconsider Sarita’s case. We will appeal to them again,” he said.

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