AIBA slaps one-year ban on Sarita Devi

AIBA slaps one-year ban on Sarita Devi

The international boxing association (AIBA) on Wednesday served a one-year suspension and slapped a fine of 1000 Swiss francs (Rs 66,000) on L Sarita Devi for refusing to accept her bronze medal at the 2014 Asian Games. 

The decision came as a relief for the Indian woman boxer who was staring at the possibility of a life ban.

Sarita had refused to accept the medal on the podium, protesting her controversial loss in the semifinals. Her suspension period begins on October 1, 2014 (the day of the Asian Games medal ceremony) and ends on October 1, 2015, during which she would not be able to participate in any national or international competitions.

Men’s national coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu and another coach Sagar Mal Dhayal have been let off but India's long-time foreign coach, Cuban Blas Iglesias Fernandez, was slapped a two-year ban and fined 2000 Swiss francs, the ban being effective from October 1, 2014.

The AIBA's disciplinary committee also banned Sarita's personal coach Lenin Meitei for one year and suspended for two years her husband Thoiba Singh from entering any venue hosting international and domestic boxing events.

While Boxing India and the Indian Olympic Association have welcomed the development, the Sports Ministry has requested AIBA to reconsider its decision. Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said the decision would have a demoralising effect on the boxer.

“She is and will remain one of the prospective representatives of the country in future international sporting events.  Banning her for one year at this juncture will have a demoralising effect on her consistency and good performance in the arena.

“It may also affect the promotion and development of boxing in India,” Sonowal said in a statement on Wednesday.

“ The Government of India is of the considered view that the issue of Sarita Devi should be dealt with a sympathetic manner by the authorities. The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Govt of India, has been pursuing the matter since the beginning and will continue to pursue it further at all appropriate forums dealing with the subject for a review of the decision of banning Sarita Devi,” it said.

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