New Delhi: Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Wednesday said that he has instructed the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to take up Laishram Sarita Devi's suspension at the international forum and push for withdrawing the ban imposed on the Indian woman boxer.
"We have already instructed the Indian Olympic Association to take up the matter with the international forum for withdrawal of suspension on Sarita Devi," Sonowal told 'Times Now'.
"We are asking the IOA to take up the matter for a genuine cause of a player. So, it is very important for the country and we will have to stand by our decision," he added.
Sonowal's reaction came after the international sports body, AIBA, today took strong action and provisionally suspended Sarita Devi for refusing to accept the bronze medal at the Asian Games podium ceremony.
Protesting against a controversial verdict, Sarita in an unprecedented move, had refused to wear the medal around her neck as she broke down on the podium during the ceremony for the 57-60 kg category.
The 29-year-old boxer accepted the medal in her hand and wiped her tears holding it, before handing it to South Korean silver medallist Ji-Na Park, who had defeated Sarita after a what seemed to be a "bad" referee decision.
Even though the AIBA had taken note of her written apology, the international body surprisingly decided to suspend the boxer and the national coaches.