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'I fully support Sarita, but I would have protested differently'

Last updated on: October 05, 2014 15:21 IST
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MC Mary Kom celebrates after winning gold at the Asian Games. Photograph: PTI

She understands the emotion behind L Sarita Devi's tearful protest on the Asian Games podium but M C Mary Kom, who became the first Indian woman boxer to win gold at the mega-event, said faced with a similar crisis, she would have shown dissent differently.

On her return from Incheon, Mary Kom said she does not want to dwell on the controversy too much but supports her fellow Manipuri.

"I really do not want to comment on it anymore. I feel sad for her, she should have won that semi-final bout. I understand her pain and fully support the issue she raised but personally I would have protested differently though I can't say how. This is my personal thought but I support her," said the Olympic bronze-medallist and five-time world champion.

"I hope judges and referees are fair in all competitions, there is nothing more I can say on it."

Sarita had hung the bronze around Park's neck as a mark of protest 

India's bronze medallist Laishram Sarita Devi (R) talks with South Korea's silver medallist Park Ji-na during the medal ceremony. Photograph: Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

Sarita had refused to accept her bronze medal during the Games' presentation ceremony after controversially losing her semi-final bout to Korean Ji-na Park. Disconsolate on the podium, Sarita hung the bronze around Park's neck before walking away as a mark of protest.

Her actions prompted the International Boxing Association (AIBA) to open disciplinary proceedings against her even as the Olympic Council of Asia let her off with a warning. Sarita has since apologised for her actions on the podium.

However, the Koreans did draw quite a bit of flak for the standard of judging in the bouts involving their boxers with five countries writing to AIBA to protest.

Mary Kom, who defeated a Korean in the opening round, said she personally did not feel anything fishy in her bouts.

"I faced a Korean in the first round itself. The only difference I can tell you is that in Sarita's case it was 70 per cent Sarita and 30 per cent Park. But it was 100 per cent Mary in my bout," she said. 

‘I feel the bouts were all easy for me there’ 

India's Mary Kom (red) fights with Kazakhstan's Zhaina Shekerbekova during their women's fly (48-51kg) boxing match final. Photograph: Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

In fact, the 31-year-old mother-of-three Mary said she did not face a single tough bout in the competition.

"I feel the bouts were all easy for me there. I never took any of them lightly before stepping into the ring but ended up winning easily. They were tiring but easy bouts," she laughed.

"As far as the level of competition is concerned, I feel it is more or less the same that I faced in Guangzhou Asian Games. It hasn't changed much but I personally feel fitter and stronger," said the Manipuri, who had won a bronze in the previous edition of the Games.

Basking in the glory of her historic feat at the Asiad, where she was the only gold-medallist in boxing for India, Mary Kom said she is undecided about participating in the World Championships scheduled from November 13 in Jeju Islands in Korea.

"I don't know, I have not thought about it as yet. I will decide whether to go later this month," she said.

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