The Indian boxer, Sarita Devi, had lost the semifinals at the Asian Games in Incheon in the women’s lightweight competition. She refused her bronze medal and tried to give it to her South Korean opponent. Sarita had lots on a points decision that was somewhat controversial. She had questioned the result after the match, but her objections were rejected by the jury.
For refusing to take the medal, the International Amateur Boxing Federation (AIBA) suspended her, and she may even face a lifelong ban. There are many who feel that Sarita should not be banned, including Sachin Tendulkar.
Tendulkar held a meeting with the Sports Minister, Sarbananda Sonowal, in order to try and get the backing of the entire Indian sporting world to support the boxer in her quest to have the ban lifted.
Tendulkar said: “I appeal to the entire country to be behind Sarita. I know how it feels. Sarita’s career should not be jeopardized.”
He further explained the purpose of the meeting: “This meeting was to discuss Sarita Devi’s case. Being a sportsperson I know what she must have gone through. It must have been a difficult moment for her. Everyone responds differently to situations. AIBA should consider her case. She has apologized to the world body also. Our discussion was how to move forward and what to say to AIBA.”
The upshot of the meeting is that the government along with Boxing India, will be supporting Sarita and are giving her their full backing and will assist her in dealing with AIBA. Both Boxing India, the government, sportspersons, and the Indian people feel that it would be a shame to cut short her boxing career simply because she had an outburst at the Asian Games.