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India’s Sarita Devi apologises for refusing to accept medal

INCHEON: Indian boxer L Sarita Devi has apologised for her petulant display at the Asian Games when she refused to accept her bronze medal.

Sarita issued an unconditional apology on Friday for her “emotional behaviour” at Wednesday’s medal presentation for the women’s lightweight division.

“I regret and apologise. Such an incident will never reoccur in the future,” she wrote in a letter sent to the International Boxing Federation (AIBA).

Sarita was furious after losing her semi-final bout with South Korea’s Park Ji-na on Tuesday, believing she should have been declared the winner.

Her husband launched an expletive-laden tirade at the judges and Sarita lodged a protest against the decision but it was rejected, triggering cries of foul play from the Indian team.

The following day, she refused to wear the bronze medal when it was presented to her, taking it only in her hand before trying to drape it over Park.

When the presentation was over, Sarina left the medal behind, despite being told by the organisers to take it with her.

The AIBA took a dim view of her behaviour and submitted a formal report to the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), requesting disciplinary action be taken against her.

AIBA supervisor David Francis also criticised the Indian team’s behaviour in a strongly worded, saying: “The whole incident looked like a well planned scenario by her and her team, and it is regretful to watch a boxer refuse the medal regardless of what happened in the competition.”

The Head of the Indian delegation in Incheon denied that the team had planned the incident, saying Sarina’s refusal to accept the medal was a “spontaneous knee jerk reaction.”

The Indian team leader Adille J Sumariwalla also asked the AIBA to consider her apology and all the circumstances when deciding if any further disciplinary action is to be taken- Reuters

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