Less than six months after taking the professional plunge, former world champion L Sarita Devi and Commonwealth Games bronze-medallist Pinki Jangra will return to amateur boxing after apologising to the national federation.
The two boxers, who had signed up with the Indian Boxing Council (IBC), will be re-joining the national camp after submitting letters of apology to the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) for abruptly leaving the amateur circuit.
"Pinki will be joining the camp from tomorrow, while Sarita will also be joining soon after taking care of some personal issues. Both of them have apologised. While Sarita had not kept us in the loop when she turned professional, Pinki had left the camp without taking permission," a top BFI official told PTI.
The 31-year-old Sarita, who hasn't competed since winning her debut professional bout on January 29, is currently in Mumbai attending to her mother, who is unwell, and will be joining the national camp after a few days.
"Sarita is currently preoccupied with her mother's health. She will be joining the camp soon. She had requested permission from the BFI because this year, the Asian Championship is lined up in November (in Vietnam). The BFI has accepted her request," a source close to Sarita stated.
"She spoke to the BFI President Ajay Singh and he was quite supportive of her," the source added.
IBC President Brig. (Retd) P K Muralidharan Raja also confirmed the development.
"Both of them have apologised for not keeping the federation informed. Right now, they didn't have any fights lined up so it was best for them to go back to the national camp," he said.
"This year and the next year has a lot lined up. They want to compete in the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games. So they duly submitted the letter of apology and a request letter to rejoin the camp," he added.
Pinki, a former national gold-medallist, had turned professional within a few days of Sarita. The 27-year-old said she was keen to come back to the amateur fold after getting a taste of the pro circuit.
"I wanted to try my hand at pro, which I did. It was basically to enhance my strength and endurance. Plus I have not fought since my debut win. So, I requested the federation to allow me back and they agreed," Pinki said.
When asked whether the request also included an apology for leaving the camp without intimating the BFI, Pinki replied in the affirmative.
As per the revamped rules of the International Boxing Association (AIBA), professional boxers are no longer barred from the Olympics but the world body has left it to the individual federations to work out their selection policies.
Image: L Sarita Devi