India’s boxing ace, Laishram Sarita Devi, has been elected unopposed as a member of the first-ever international boxing body (AIBA) athletes' commission.
In a letter, the AIBA’s interim president, Mohamed Moustahsane, has officially informed the top Indian women boxer about her inclusion in the prestigious panel. “I am confident that with your knowledge and experience, you will be an important contributor to the activities of the Commission,” Moustahsane wrote in his letter.
And Sarita is excited to be part of the commission. “It is a great honour for me and I am happy that AIBA has included me as a member of the commission. In my new role, I will speak for the players,” Sarita told Sportstar from New Delhi on Saturday.
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A seasoned campaigner, Sarita, courted controversy in the Asian Games in 2014, when she refused to accept her bronze medal at the prize distribution ceremony of the 57-60kg category. While many felt that the Manipur boxer was right in her approach, AIBA suspended her for the ‘disrespectful’ act.
But for Sarita, life now has come a full circle.
“Nobody knows what a boxer goes through when the decisions don’t go in his or favour. Having gone through it all, I will make sure that I speak about the boxers and try and be with them,” Sarita said.
For the Manipur boxer, the focus will be to ensure that the game is played with the right spirit. “Being a part of the commission, I will ensure that the fairness is maintained and no boxers are deprived. Everyone puts in hard work to come at a level, and one wrong decision could mar their careers. I will ensure that something like that doesn’t happen to anybody,” Sarita said.
The 37-year-old is an eight-time Asian Championships medalist -- five of them gold -- has been an athletes representative in the executive committee of the Boxing Federation of India, which nominated her for the position in the world body.
“It is a big responsibility and I will try to do it as sincerely as I can. It is a challenging task for sure and I am looking forward to it,” Sarita said.
The commission is supposed to feature one male and a female boxer from each of the five regional confederations.