Sarita threatens to return Arjuna Award, quit boxing

Sarita was beaten by five-time world champion and Manipuri team-mate M C Mary Kom at the trials here on September 22 but she now claimed that she had already been selected after the trials at Bhopal last month.

Sarita, the reigning Asian champion in 51kg category, is still among the reserves for the Asian Games to be held in China in November. She has now demanded intervention by the Sports Minister, resignation of Indian Boxing Federation General Secretary and conduct of another round of trial for the Asian Games.

"The Sports Minister must intervene into the matter immediately and solve the issue. Until and unless these demands are being fulfilled I will not play for India and I shall also return the Arjuna Award that was awarded to me in 2009," she said.

"The IBF general secretary must apologize for indulging in favoritism in the selection process which is against the ethics of sportsmanship. He must resign on moral and disciplinary ground," he added. Sarita, a former world champion, claimed that she was already selected for the Asian Games at Bhopal last month but had to go through another trial without any reason.

"The selection trial for the Indian women boxing team to take part in the Asian Games was held at Bhopal for two days on 20 and 21 August. The selection committee had announced the selected names in which I was included in the 51kg category with two other women players in the 60 and 75 kg categories. It was published in the newspaper Hindustan (Hindi) on 10 September," she said in the release.

"But unfortunately Indian Boxing Federation tried to keep it confidential and delayed an announcement. Surprisingly the Federation decided to hold the trial again without giving any specific reason. The retrial was fixed for 22nd September. I took part in the trial held at Talkatora Stadium. Despite my good performance in the trial my name has been omitted deliberately – by the IBF. This is an injustice," she added.

Sarita said the Indian Boxing Federation has been converted into "a den of conspirators and corruption by few selfish officials."

"It is indeed shocking that few corrupt officials for their selfish interest had rendered Indian Boxing Federation into a matter of controversy. This is an ugly trend that must be addressed adequately at the earliest so as to prevent sports loving persons from becoming disillusioned about Indian sports," Sarita said.

"Despite my wholehearted dedication and contribution to Indian boxing, bypassing good performance and professionalism, injustice has been done to me by the selfish clique in IBF whose ambition is to tarnish the image of the Federation. This is being evident in the repeated trial processes where they have conspired against me," she said.
Threatening to return the Arjuna Award, Sarita said she should be allowed for a retrial in front of the media within a week.

IBF General Secretary Muralidharan Raja dismissed any talk of favouritism in the selection for the Asian Games, saying that "what would I get if either Sarita or Mary Kom is selected".

"I was not in Bhopal but Sarita was beaten in both the trials -- in Bhopal and at Talkatora Stadium. There was no politics involved," he told PTI. "The trials at Bhopal was inconclusive and for the sake of fairness we did another trial at Talkatora after Barbados world championships. All the selection panel was there at Talkatora and they felt Mary was much better. Sarita could barely hold herself against Mary," he added.

Raja wondered why Sarita raised the issue now as she and Mary Kom knew that the Asian Games trials would be held after the world championships at Barbados.

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