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Indian government seeks review of Sarita ban

New Delhi : The Indian government Wednesday expressed concern at the International Boxing Association’s (AIBA) decision to ban boxer L. Sarita Devi for a year and impose a fine of Swiss franc 1,000 for her refusal to accept the 2014 Asian Games bronze medal after controversially being declared a loser in a bout.

Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, in a statement, said that the ban aroused a feeling of concern in the sporting community, a move that would demoralise the troubled boxer.

“One-year ban on boxer Sarita Devi by AIBA for refusing her bronze medal in Incheon Asian Games has caused concern across India in general and sportspersons in particular. Government of India is of considered view that the issue of Sarita Devi should be dealt with in a sympathetic manner by the concerned authorities,” Sonowal said.

“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 that the government will continue to pursue the matter.

“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,” the statement said.

Sonowal earlier Nov 26 convened a meeting with Sachin Tendulkar, ace boxer Vjender Singh, Boxing India (BI) president Sandeep Jajodia, where it was decided that an appeal will be made to AIBA to consider the case of Sarita sympathetically and revoke her suspension.

He wrote a letter to AIBA president Ching-Kuo Wu, appealing him to take a lenient view in the matter.