NEW DELHI, Nov 23 (PTI): Boxer L Sarita Devi today got support from Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and Olympic bronze medallist pugilist Vijender Singh, who said that world body AIBA should take a lenient decision on her for refusing to accept her Asian Games medal after a controversial defeat.
Sarita�s career has been thrown into jeopardy after International Boxing Association (AIBA) chief Ching-Kuo Wu asserted that she would be heavily punished so much so that she can consider her career as good as over.
Sarita, who is currently serving a provisional suspension forcing her out of World Championships starting tomorrow, had refused to accept her bronze at the Games medal ceremony after losing the semifinal bout to host South Korea�s Park Ji-na.
�We will do whatever we can to support her (Sarita) and hope that the AIBA will take a lenient decision,� Sonowal said at the sidelines of the Grand Wrestling Championship here.
Vijender said that he would continue to support Sarita in her hour of crisis.
�As an athlete, I will continue to support her as I can understand why she reacted the way she did. As a boxer I know how tough it is to be denied like that. It was an emotional reaction to a very disappointing loss,� he said.
�Moreover, she has apologised to the AIBA, saying that she has committed a mistake. I think the AIBA should take a lenient view on her,� said Vijender, who was awarded membership of National Sports Club of India today along with Saina Nehwal, Sushil Kumar, Yogeshwar Dutt and MC Mary Kom.
Asked about Boxing India�s decision to serve show-cause notice to Sarita�s husband Thoiba Singh and her personal coach, Vijender said, �I don�t want to comment on that issue. It was the decision taken by the federation.�
He also said that he would be preparing to take part in next year�s World Championships.
�I will decide in which weight category I will fight in next year�s World Championships later on,� he added.
Sushil also lent support to Sarita and said that the government should back her to ensure that she continues her boxing career.