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Disciplinary case opened against India boxer Sarita for refusing bronze medal at Asian Games

10/01/2014 10:31 EDT | Updated 12/01/2014 05:59 EST
INCHEON, South Korea - Within hours of India boxer L. Sarita Devi rejecting her Asian Games bronze medal, boxing officials opened a disciplinary case against her on Wednesday.

In protest at what she called "biased judgment" for her semifinals loss in the women's 60-kilogram class, a tearful Sarita went to the podium but refused to bend down to let the medal be placed over her neck. She took the medal in hand, went across, and slipped it onto the neck of Park Ji-na, the South Korean who beat her on Tuesday. Park tried to give it back, then left it on the podium.

World boxing governing body AIBA said in a statement that it would announce the decision of its case after the Asian Games ends on Saturday, and that its technical delegate David B. Francis had also submitted a report to the Olympic Council of Asia.

"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," Francis wrote in his report to the continental body.

"In this regard, as the technical delegate, I had to request OCA to review this incident, so any boxer or athlete in other sports will not follow in her footsteps by respecting the spirit of fair-play and sportsmanship of the Olympic movement," Francis added.

Sarita, who left the hall without the medal, earlier said she wanted to make a point at the podium, and was prepared for any action against her.

"I'm ready to face any repercussions and to sacrifice my career if it can help other boxers and improve the system," she said. "It's really disappointing to lose in such manner when the judges are against you.

"I presented the medal to the South Korean girl because I could not have taken it home. At least this way I won't be reminded of this loss time and again by seeing the medal. I'll come afresh and win more medals in international competitions."

Park won their bout by unanimous decision, causing a furor, and accusations of a fix by India's chief coach. India's official complaint was rejected because judges' decisions can't be protested. Park lost the final on Wednesday.

There was also criticism of the jury in other bouts, notably in the one between Mongolia's Tugstsogt Nyambayar against South Korea's Ham Sang-Myeong in the men's 56-kilogram quarterfinal on Tuesday. The Mongolian, who lost by decision, refused to leave the ring for more than five minutes. Mongolia's official protest was also rejected.

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