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I have become a thinking boxer now, says Sarita Devi as ban ends

The one-year ban imposed on her for a tearful outburst at the Asian Games ending on Thursday, former world champion L Sarita Devi says the forced sabbatical proved to be a blessing in disguise as it helped her become a thinking boxer and a calmer person.

Sarita was handed a one-year ban by the International Boxing Association (AIBA) for refusing to accept her bronze medal at the Asian Games after losing a controversial semifinal bout.

Sarita had cried bitterly on the podium and had even tried to hand her bronze to silver-medallist South Korean Park Ji-Na, to whom she had lost in the semis. The Indian later had to tender unconditional apologies to both the Games organising committee and AIBA for her actions.

She was nonetheless banned retrospectively from October 1, 2014 to October 1, 2015 and fined 1000 swiss francs.

“I think I have become a much better boxer now. I have been boxing for the last 15 years and I think there is still lot of space for improvement. You never stop learning. Now after this one year, I would say, I’m much more cool, a thinking boxer. Overall, both mentally and physically I’m much better than before,” said Sarita, currently training in Aurangabad under former Asian Games gold-medallist Dingko Singh.

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