Putting an end to the status of the bronze medal won by Indian woman boxer L Sarita Devi, the Olympic Council of Asia on Thursday re-instated her medal in the 60kg category after a hearing with the India’s Asian Games contingent officials in Incheon.
“I attended the OCA working group hearing this morning and expressed regret over what happened at the medal ceremony (of the women’s 60kg group) on Wednesday.
“I told them it had happened in an emotional moment. The OCA has reinstated Sarita Devi as the bronze medal winner. The medal will come to us tomorrow (on Friday) morning,” contingent’s chef de mission Adille Sumariwalla told PTI.
Light weight woman boxer Sarita, who was robbed off a shot at gold due to poor ring-side judging despite totally dominating her semifinal bout on September 30 against her South Korean opponent Jina Park, did not allow the medal to be hung around her neck at the medal ceremony.
After accepting it by hand, she hung it around the neck of silver medallist Park, who controversially defeated her in the semifinals, and left the podium without the medal which was left behind by the Korean too.
Sumariwalla also said that he had asked for a review of the bout by an independent panel appointed by OCA.
“I have asked for a review of Sarita’s bout by an independent panel appointed by OCA,” said the former national men’s sprint champion.
The threat of a ban on the boxer by the world governing body AIBA persists and Sumariwalla has said his priority now is to prevent this from happening.
Earlier, at the daily media briefing by the Games organising committee, its deputy secretary-general Cheon-taik Son had termed Sarita Devi’s refusal to accept the medal as ‘regretful and against the spirit of sportsmanship’.
“It’s very regretful this has happened and against the goal of Asian unity we had set ourselves for ahead of the Games. It was also against the spirit of sportsmanship and the action showed disrespect to the other athletes. It was a very unfortunate incident,” he said.
“We have ensured that there’s no such thing as home advantage in these Games. Still boxing is a very subjective sport. The spectators might see blood on a boxer’s face, but it could be different from the judges’ count of scoring punches.
“There have been lot of protests in boxing but no formal complaints have been lodged. We have written to AIBA. It’s unfortunate that it happened in a game where a Korean was involved,” he added.