Sarita Devi tenders ‘unconditional apology’ for rejecting medal

LAUSANNE (Switzerland): The boxer Laishram Sarita Devi who rejected her Asian Games bronze medal because she disputed her semifinal loss apologized in a letter to the International Boxing Association on Thursday.

A day after the medal ceremony in Incheon, South Korea, L Sarita Devi wrote to AIBA president Ching-Kuo Wu to give “an unconditional apology” for her “emotional outburst,” adding “I regret and apologize. Such an incident will never reoccur in the future.”

Her letter was forwarded to Wu by the head of the India delegation at Incheon, Adille Sumariwalla, who noted her actions at the podium were “a spontaneous knee jerk reaction,” and not “a planned effort” by the team. AIBA opened a disciplinary case against Sarita within hours of the medal ceremomy, and said it would announce a decision after the Asian Games close on Saturday.

Technical delegate David B. Francis said the incident “looked like a well-planned scenario by her and her team,” and wanted the Olympic Council of Asia to ensure it would not be repeated by others, to respect fair play and sportsmanship.

Sarita’s unanimous points loss to a South Korean in the women’s 60-kilogram semifinals caused her and India coaches to accuse the judges of a hometown decision. Their official complaint was rejected.

After her tear-filled protest at the podium, Sarita said, “I’m ready to face any repercussions and to sacrifice my career if it can help other boxers, and improve the system.”

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