Moved on from ban, time to win medals: Boxer Sarita

Kolkata, June 27 (IANS) Suspended Indian female boxer L. Sarita Devi on Saturday said she has moved on from the demoralising one-year ban that was imposed on her and says she is training hard to come back strong and win more medals for the country.

Sarita was banned by the International Boxing Association (AIBA) last year in December after she refused to accept the bronze medal at the 2014 Asian Games.

“I have forgotten everything about it (the ban). I am currently focusing on my training and working very hard so that I can win as many medals for the country as I can. My first priority will be to do well in the World Championships in February next year,” Sarita told reporters at the inaugural All Bengal Girls and Women’s Karate and Self Defence Championship where she was present as the chief guest.

After four months of training in Bengaluru since recovering from a wrist injury, Sarita will next travel to Pune to prepare herself for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Speaking on the Target Olympic Podium (TOP) scheme which has been formulated within the overall ambit of the National Sports Development Fund (NSDF) with the objective of identifying and supporting potential medal prospects for the 2016 and 2020 Olympics, she said: “It is great (the TOP scheme), helping us a lot. For the first time I have a personal trainer and I am being provided every kind of facility and assistance I need to continue my training.”

The 30-year-old Manipuri also thanked the country for the support during the tough times she faced after the ban, adding that meeting cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar gave her the required motivation and inspiration to train harder.

“The whole country fought for me, even Sachin (Tendulkar) supported me then. I did not expect that he would support me in such a tough time. He gave me an autograph, everyday I look at it and it serves as a motivation,” Sarita, who will be allowed to compete in September, said.

Asked about her state mate and Asian Games 2014 gold medallist M.C. Mary Kom, she said: “Mary and I started boxing together, hopefully this time too in the Olympics we can grab a medal each for the country.”

However, Sarita refrained from commenting on the recent turmoil that has taken Boxing India (BI) by storm.

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