New Delhi, Dec 17: Boxer Sarita Devi, who had refused to accept her Asian Games bronze medal, was today banned for one year by the world body AIBA, putting an end to the prolonged suspense over her fate following the controversial protest.
India's foreign coach B I Fernandez was also handed a two-year ban for standing by Sarita during her protest. The AIBA's ruling was conveyed to Boxing India (BI), who announced the decision at a press conference here.
Sarita had refused to wear her bronze at the podium ceremony after her semifinal loss to South Korea's Ji Na Park at Incheon in October, triggering a huge controversy. BI said Sarita is barred from taking part in national and international events from October 1, 2014 to October, 2015 besides being fined 1000 Swiss francs.
Considering the duration of the ban, the 29-year-old Manipuri boxer can hope to compete in the 2016 Rio Olympics. India's long-time foreign coach Fernandez has been punished with a longer ban along with a fine of 2000 Swiss francs. His ban too came into effect on October 1.
Sports minister Sarbananda Sonowal and cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar were among many who had shown strong support for Sarita. BI president Sandeep Jajodia accepted AIBA's decision.
"There was apprehension that Sarita would be banned for life but BI continuously worked to get relief for Sarita, trying to impress on AIBA that Sarita is disciplined," said Jajodia.
"The one off incident in Incheon was an emotional outburst. But we have to appreciate that international body works under some rules. We enclosed all apologies in our reply...also requested Government of India to support. They obliged," said Jajodia.