NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Indian boxer L Sarita Devi has been banned for one year by the world governing body AIBA for her petulant behaviour at the Asian Games in October, Boxing India (BI) said on Wednesday.
Furious after losing her semi-final to local favourite Park Ji-na in the women’s lightweight division in Incheon, Sarita refused to accept her bronze medal, prompting the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) to suspend her indefinitely.
AIBA president Ching-kuo Wu predicted a bleak future for the Indian, who subsequently apologised for the behaviour, and BI officials were happy that the 29-year-old escaped a life ban.
“AIBA’s verdict on Sarita Devi comes as a relief,” BI president Sandeep Jajodia said in a statement, summing up the mood in the Indian boxing community.
“The one-year ban ending October 2015 can further be reduced, based on her good demeanour and hard work. Boxing India will, in the meanwhile, continue to correspond with AIBA to reduce the punishment, thus enabling and motivating Sarita Devi to prepare her qualifications for (Rio) Olympics.”
Jajodia later told reporters Sarita had also been fined 1000 Swiss francs (660.5 pounds) while India’s Cuban coach B.I. Fernandez, who cried foul after the bout and criticised officials, was slapped with a two-year ban and fined 2000 Swiss francs.
“I am hugely relieved,” said Sarita, who had refused to wear the medal at Incheon and left it on the podium when the presentation ceremony concluded.
“I will now be able to participate in the Games and will work harder to bring laurels to the nation,” she added.
Editing by John O'Brien