New Delhi: The victory ceremony of women's boxing light-weight category at the Incheon Asian Games witnessed a tearful Laishram Sarita attending the function only to refuse the bronze medal.
The former World Champion accepted the medal, but did not allow it to be worn around her neck as customarily followed during medal ceremonies. Later it was reported that Sarita handed over the medal to her South Korean opponent in the semi-final, Jina Park. A confused Jina left the medal on the podium to the dismay of the Games organisers. During the ceremony, Jina did try to trade the medal with the Indian boxer.
Earlier, Sarita, who was robbed off a gold medal bout at the 17th Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea revealed that she might return the medal. According to reports, her husband C Thoiba said that they “will accept the medal at the ceremony but are planning to return it as a mark of protest.”
On Tuesday, a dominant Sarita lost her lightweight semifinal bout against South Korea's Jina Park in dubious circumstances. Following the match, Indian contingent lodged a complaint but it was rejected by the International Boxing Association (AIBA).
After the match, a distraught Sarita said, “I don’t accept this decision. It’s wrong,” even as her husband Thoiba confronted the match officials screaming: “You’ve killed boxing!”
Sarita returned to the ring after giving birth to a baby boy and won a silver medal in the recent Glasgow Commonwealth Games. Often compared to legendary, Mary Kom – who has qualified for the gold medal bout in women's flyweight (48-51kg) category.
Moments later, the gathering at Seonhak Gymnasium witnessed Mongolia’s bantamweight boxer Tugstsogt Nyambayar losing his bout against South Korea’s Ham Sang-Myeong, in similar fashion. And in the afternoon, Sarita's brother Devendro was denied a place in semi-finals by judges.
Devendro, like his sister dominated the South Korean opponent Shin Jonghun in the men's 49kg quarterfinal bout from the start, but the judges ruled the home favourite winner.