She understands the emotion behind L Sarita Devi’s tearful protest on the Asian Games podium but M C Mary Kom, who became the first Indian woman boxer to win a gold at the mega-event, said faced with a similar crisis, she would have shown dissent differently.
Speaking to PTI after returning from Incheon, Mary Kom said she does not want to dwell on the controversy too much but supports her fellow Manipuri.
“I really do not want to comment on it anymore. I feel sad for her, she should have won that semifinal bout. I understand her pain and fully support the issue she raised but personally I would have protested differently though I can’t say how. This is my personal thought but I support her,” said the Olympic bronze-medallist and five-time world champion.
“I hope judges and referees are fair in all competitions, there is nothing more I can say on it.”
Sarita had refused to accept her bronze medal during the Games’ presentation ceremony after controversially losing her semifinal bout to Korean Ji-na Park. Disconsolate on the podium, Sarita hung the bronze around Park’s neck before walking away as a mark of protest.
Her actions prompted the International Boxing Association (AIBA) to open disciplinary proceedings against her even as the Olympic Council of Asia let her off with a warning. Sarita has since apologised for her actions on the podium.
However, the Koreans did draw quite a bit of flak for the standard of judging in the bouts involving their boxers with five countries writing to AIBA to protest.
Mary Kom, who defeated a Korean in the opening round, said she personally did not feel anything fishy in her bouts.
“I faced a Korean in the first round itself. The only difference I can tell you is that in Sarita’s case it was 70 per cent Sarita and 30 per cent Park. But it was 100 per cent Mary in my bout,” she said.
Joy and tears for Indian boxers