Former world champion L Sarita Devi today lamented on the long-dragging administrative mess in Indian boxing but said it is up to the country’s boxers to rise above this crisis with their performance at the Rio Olympics.
India does not have a national federation after the International Boxing Association (AIBA) terminated Boxing India last year. The sport is being administered by an ad-hoc committee.
“At this moment, boxing can go either way, we can’t say which way. It’s at crossroads but the destiny is in our hands. If we do well and put India on top at Olympics, the future will definitely be shining again,” the Glasgow Commonwealth Games bronze medallist told PTI here today.
“No doubt it’s frustrating for the young boxers that they don’t have any tournaments. They’re training hard but clueless about their competitions. Hopefully things will be fine soon,” she added.
Having served a one-year ban for her infamous emotional outburst after a controversial semifinal loss in the 2014 Asian Games, Sarita returned to the competitive arena during a training-cum-competition trip to China last year and now won a gold in the recently-concluded South Asian Games in Shillong.
“It was my first major competition after the ban and winning gave me a huge confidence ahead of the Olympic qualification (Zonal qualifiers in Qian’an from March 23-April 3). It was great to win in front of the home crowd,” Sarita, who was here to take part in 4km ‘Run For A Champ Who Refused To Give Up’, organised by International Institute of Hotel Management, said.
In a stiff final bout during the South Asian Games, Sarita prevailed over Sri Lanka’s M Vidushika Prabadhi amid loud cheers and she described the atmosphere better than the World Championship win in Delhi in 2006.
“It was a lovely atmosphere, I could say even better than it was in Delhi,” said Sarita.
During the one-year ban by AIBA, Sarita underwent a surgery on her right wrist, which she said is “perfect” now.
“It’s perfect now and I don’t feel any pain during my bouts at the SAG. We have been training hard and it’s time to earn the Olympic berths. That’s the main focus,” she said.