Sarita expresses relief over AIBA's decision

Sarita expresses relief over AIBA's decision

Boxer Sarita Devi said she was relieved to be given a reduced one-year suspension against a possible life ban and vowed to utilise the period in working towards her ambition of winning an Olympic medal.

Sarita, who is nursing a wrist injury, said she couldn’t wait to be back in the ring.
“I am very happy with AIBA’s decision and am thankful to them for reducing it to one year. I can’t thank enough all the people who supported me, be it Sachin ji (Tendulkar), my coaches, Boxing India, IOA, Sports Ministry and the media.
“They all helped me in gaining another chance to enter the boxing ring.  I am also relieved that I will be able to play in the Olympics again. I will not let their hard work go waste,” Sarita, a five-time Asian Championship gold medalist and two-time World Championship medalist, told Deccan Herald.

Sarita had wept inconsolably during the medal ceremony after losing her semifinal clash against eventual silver-medallist Park Ji-Na, despite dominating the bout. During the ceremony, she tried to give her medal to Ji-Na, who left it at the podium. AIBA was miffed with her action and a threat of life ban loomed on her despite her apologies.

“The one year is a good opportunity for me to work on my mistakes and watch the bouts of my opponents and analyse their game. I am determined to return an even better boxer.”

The 29-year-old Manipuri boxer said she had put the Asian Games controversy behind. “I have put the controversy behind. I now just want to focus on the future. What had happened has happened. I now want to focus on my game, so that I can grow as a boxer. I have won medals in every tournament except Olympics. I now have got a chance to fulfil my dream and I want to make the most of it. I want to make my country proud,” she said.

Her thoughts, though, went to India’s Cuban coach B I Fernandez, who was handed two-year suspension by AIBA. “I am feeling very bad for him. Because of me he had to face this suspension. I hope something can be done to relieve him of this suspension,” she said.

Boxing India President Sandeep Jajodia said they would help Sarita raise money for the fine. “We had sent a formal appeal to the disciplinary commission. We said it was not a premeditated incident by her and that it she was a very disciplined sportsperson.

“I am personally thankful to AIBA President, AIBA CEO Ho Kim and disciplinary committee chairman for accepting the detailed explanations given by us. She is now available to compete in the 2016 Women's World Championships, which is also the Olympic qualifier.”

As for Fenandez, Jajodia said: "Even if we push his case, I don't think it will work because he is a veteran coach and should have had a better idea of rules.”

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