A day after making the boxing world sit up and take notice with her silent protest, L Sarita Devi told HT that there will be no apology whatsoever from her side to the Incheon Games officials or the international boxing association (AIBA) for her outburst against the judges who robbed her of a place in the final.
Even as she and her husband, Thoiba Singh, prepared to leave for India on Thursday, the belligerent stance was intact. Thoiba said he would knock on the doors of the highest international authority to bring justice to Sarita.
“We will approach the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) in Lausanne and every possible level to ensure she gets her rightful place in Asian Games history. But first we will wait for the decision of the disciplinary case opened against Sarita and then decide the future course of action,” Thoiba said.
The AIBA supervisor and technical delegate for the Incheon Games, David B Francis, had submitted a report to the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) stating that the incident “looked like a well-planned scenario by her and her team... In this regard, as the technical delegate, I had to request OCA to review this incident, so that any boxer or athlete in other sports will not follow in her footsteps….”
But Sarita categorically said: “We will not take the medal back. It’s my gift to the country.” Thoiba however said: “We will think about it when we reach India but for now we are not going to take back the medal.”
Thoiba though toned down his wife’s criticism of the support staff, saying she did not say anything against the coaching staff, including chief coach GS Sandhu. “Sarita didn’t say a word against Sandhu,” said Thoiba, though in the heat of the moment she had lambasted the entire coaching staff, saying “no one, not even my coaches, came to help me even as I cried and felt humiliated.”
Thoiba though said that she was extremely sore about the IOA and other top Indian dignitaries “witnessing the match from the VIP gallery” who did not approach her even as the time to file the protest was ran out.