Sarita threatens to return Arjuna Award, quit boxing

Last Updated: Sep 24, 2010, 21:42 PM IST

New Delhi:Top woman boxer L Sarita Devi on Friday threatened to return the Arjuna Award she got last year and not to play for the country again if the "injustice" meted out to her by dropping from the Asian Games squad is not looked into by the Sports Minister.

Sarita was beaten by five-time world champion and Manipuri team-mate M C Mary Kom at the trials here on September 22 but she now claimed that she had already been selected after the trials at Bhopal last month.

Sarita, the reigning Asian champion in 51kg category, is still among the reserves for the Asian Games to be held in China in November.
She has now demanded intervention by the Sports Minister, resignation of Indian Boxing Federation General Secretary and conduct of another round of trial for the Asian Games.

"The Sports Minister must intervene into the matter immediately and solve the issue. Until and unless these demands are being fulfilled I will not play for India and I shall also return the Arjuna Award that was awarded to me in 2009," she said.

"The IBF general secretary must apologize for indulging in favoritism in the selection process which is against the ethics of sportsmanship. He must resign on moral and disciplinary ground," he added.

Sarita, a former world champion, claimed that she was already selected for the Asian Games at Bhopal last month but had to go through another trial without any reason.

"The selection trial for the Indian women boxing team to take part in the Asian Games was held at Bhopal for two days on 20 and 21 August. The selection committee had announced the selected names in which I was included in the 51kg category with two other women players in the 60 and 75 kg categories.

It was published in the newspaper Hindustan (Hindi) on 10 September," she said in the release.

"But unfortunately Indian Boxing Federation tried to keep it confidential and delayed an announcement. Surprisingly the Federation decided to hold the trial again without giving any specific reason. The retrial was fixed for 22nd September. I took part in the trial held at Talkatora Stadium. Despite my good performance in the trial my name has been omitted deliberately by the IBF. This is an injustice," she added.

Sarita said the Indian Boxing Federation has been converted into "a den of conspirators and corruption by few selfish officials."

PTI