Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar, met pugilist Sarita Devi, who is currently serving a one-year ban by International Boxing Association (AIBA) for her refusal to accept a bronze medal during the Incheon Asian Games in South Korea last year. Tendulkar, who in past had been vocal about the boxer’s career, signed an autograph on a T-shirt and wrote a message for her reading, “Enjoy the game and always give your best”.
“Met Sarita Devi. Could see the hunger for action in her eyes. Wished her success and wrote a message. Enjoy the game and always give your best,” Tendulkar tweeted.
Tendulkar has been vocal about his support for the troubled boxer and earlier had also met Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, urging him to extend support to the pugilist.
Sarita was penalized for refusing to accept her bronze medal at the Asian Games podium after losing a controversial semifinal bout. Sarita’s defiant protest on the podium irked the International Boxing Association (AIBA), which banned her for one year after initially handing a provisional suspension. During the crisis, Tendulkar was among the top sports persons of the country who threw their weight behind the Manipuri.
“I am grateful to him for the support he gave me. I met him to thank him for standing by me,” Sarita said about the meeting.
It is incredible to see that the Indian sport fraternity has been so involved with the fight against injustice for the pugilist in her time of woe. Repeated incidents of biasing by home referees has created an air of turmoil in the boxing world and it is high time the AIBA owns up and stand up for their own sports persons than honey potting the Federation. This is the story with all sports except for cricket in India, isn’t it?