Here’s Why Sarita Devi’s Stand Is Much More Than Just A Sports Controversy

As Sarita Devi refuses to accept the bronze medal at Asian Games 2014, here is our take on the whole controversy. We support Sarita not for declining the medal, but for showing courage to stand up for what she believes in. Read more! 

In case you have access to any form of media, you must have heard about how Indian boxer Sarita Devi refused to accept a bronze medal in 57-60 kg (Lightweight) category in Asian Games.

As Devi finished her match against South Korea’s Park Jina, she was certain that the victory belonged to her. As a sign of confidence she raised her hand and so did Park Jina. But when Jina was declared the winner, Devi could not believe it. As claimed by almost everyone who watched the match, Devi had an upper hand in the entire second part of the game. She landed harder blows and was a clear winner.


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Later in the prize ceremony, when Devi climbed the podium she could not control her emotion. She burst into tears and refused to allow the officials to put the medal around her neck. She later held the medal in her hand, went to Jina and put the medal around her neck. As Jina tried to give the medal back, she tenderly refused and left it on the podium as she walked away.

“I felt that I should not accept the medal because I deserved to be in the final. I don’t mind if they take any action against me. But I did not feel like accepting the medal and so I did that,” Sarita said.

In this entire series of events, she has received immense support from the Indian public, where everyone is taking a stand against the game authorities for robbing Devi of a victory. Former Indian hockey captain Viren Rasquinha expressed his support through his tweet.

But, there are other perspectives that have emerged as well. You can take a look at the match video here and make a more informed decision yourself:

Another opinion expressed by many is whether it is right to question the authority. It might seem disrespectful to refuse the medal and also place it around the neck of another player. There are processes laid out for expressing your dissent with a decision, and surely that should have been the course of action taken?

We certainly empathise with Devi and believe that she has a right to file a protest as she clearly believed that injustice had been meted out in this case. It is sad to see that what could have been a victorious and happy moment turned into an ugly controversy because of a “wrong judgement”. But, we feel that the most unfortunate part of this entire incident was the lack of support from the IOA in questioning the verdict. They did not stand up for her and this is something Devi is and should be feeling let down about.

But in this whole episode, one thing that stands out is Devi’s courage and spirit to fight for her rights. We do not know whether her act is justified or the judgement is right or wrong. But, we do salute the lady’s courage to stand up for her rights when no one else (including her country’s officials) was there to help her. Devi’s stand has made it clear that injustice, in whatever form, should not be ignored. Devi’s act has also raised questions about the sanctity of sports verdicts and brought out an important debate on whether sports bodies should give more respect to sportspersons and more weightage to their protests before making the life-changing decisions they do.

As fans, fellow citizens and sports lovers, we stand up for Devi – not for rejecting the medal but for showing enough courage to speak up and express at such a large platform. Kudos to the lady and we hope to see many more women with such courage in the country.

Your View: Was Sarita Devi right in refusing the medal?

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