Asian Games: No medal upgrade for India, silver for Lalita

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Bahrain's Ruth Jebet, right, reacts in front India's Lalita Shivaji Babar after hearing an oficial announcment to postpone the Women's 3000 meters steeplechase medal ceremony during the 17th Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea on Saturday.
Incheon, Sep 28: India's hopes of getting a medal upgrade in the women's 3000m steeplechase were dashed today after Bahrain's Ruth Jebet was reinstated as the gold-winner following a review, a decision which the Indian contingent plans to challenge in front of "higher authorities".

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The 17-year-old Kenya-born Jebet was reinstated a day after being led away in tears from the medal ceremony where it had been announced that she stood disqualified for stepping inside the track on her second last lap due to a stumble. Her disqualification, had it stayed, would have given the Indian medal tally a boost as bronze-winner Lalita Babar and fourth-placed Sudha Singh would have been upgraded.

"A three-member jury made up of an Iranian, a Vietnamese and a Thai was constituted following an appeal by Bahrain over the disqualification of their athlete late last night. And the jury has reinstated her as the gold medallist," India's chef-de-mission and Athletics Federation of India President Adille Sumariwalla told PTI.

"As per rule 143, We can't appeal against the jury verdict but we will take up the matter at the higher level and see that justice is delivered to our athletes. But this cannot happen here," he said.

Sumariwalla said Bahrain's officials put pressure to have the gold won by the junior world champion reinstated. "The jury was constituted after the Bahrain officials put a lot of pressure on the authorities. There was an infringement and consequences should have followed. Like in hockey, if there is an infringement you get a penalty corner," Sumariwalla said.

"The Bahrain authorities are claiming that she was almost there when the infringement occurred but that's no excuse," he added. Jebet's disqualification was controversially announced during the presentation ceremony after Lalita and silver-winner Li Zhenzhu had already been presented their medals. A tearful Jebet was led away from the ceremony with Bahrain's official reacting furiously later.


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