India to appeal against L. Sarita Devi’s suspension

NEW DELHI — The president of Boxing India wants AIBA to revoke a provisional suspension on female boxer L. Sarita Devi for protesting at the Asian Games.

Devi protested against the decision in the 60-kilogram bout by refusing to bend down to let the medal be placed over her neck. She then took the medal and slipped it onto the neck of Park Ji-na, who had been declared the winner of the semifinal bout. The South Korean boxer tried to give it back, then left it on the podium.

"It was purely an emotional reaction and not pre-planned," Sandeep Jajodia said Monday after a meeting with sports ministry and Indian Olympic Association officials to discuss the course of action. "We don’t deny that it was disrespectful toward the code of conduct for athletes but she tendered an unconditional apology."

The protest prompted AIBA technical delegate David Francis to say it "looked like a well-planned scenario by her and her team."

AIBA announced the suspension last week and asked Boxing India for a detailed reply by Monday.

"Sarita is a senior boxer and does not have a history of such offences. Also, it was a one-off incident and we must look at it from a human perspective. They (AIBA) have sought a clarification, which is being sent today," Jajodia said.

Coaches Gurbaksh Sandhu, Sagar Dhayal and Blax Iglesias Fernandes, and Indian chef de mission Adile Sumariwala were also barred from AIBA events until further notice.

Devi and the suspended officials will also reply separately to the world body.