With one year ban set to end, Boxer Sarita Devi targets Gold at Rio Olympics 2016

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L Sarita Devi
L Sarita Devi

The one-year ban imposed on former world champion L Sarita Devi for a tearful outburst at the Asian Games is set to end today. Sarita was handed a one-year ban by the International Boxing Association for refusing to accept her bronze medal at the 2014 Asian Games after losing a controversial semifinal bout.

Post bout, Sarita, as the world saw, had cried bitterly on the podium and had even tried to hand her bronze to silver-medallist South Korean Park Ji-Na, to whom she had lost in the semis. The Indian later had to tender unconditional apologies to both the Games organising committee and AIBA for her actions. She was nonetheless banned retrospectively from October 1, 2014 to October 1, 2015 and fined 1000 swiss francs.

“I think I have become a much better boxer now. I have been boxing for the last 15 years and I think there is still lot of space for improvement. You never stop learning. Now after this one year, I would say, I’m much more cool, a thinking boxer. Overall, both mentally and physically I’m much better than before.”

Sarita, currently training hard on her comeback  in Aurangabad under former Asian Games gold-medallist Dingko Singh. “My first target is to win the world title next year and qualify for the Rio Olympics and there again win a bright gold medal for the country,” she said.

The 30-year-old lightweight (60kg) boxer is now eyeing the next year’s World Championships as her comeback competitive event.  “World Championship next year would be my comeback event which is also going to be the qualifying event for the Rio Olympics. I’m going to Liverpool for training for a few weeks before the World Championship,” said the Manipuri lightweight boxer.

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