Laishram Sarita Devi

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Laishram Sarita Devi
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Laishram Sarita Devi, from Thoubal village, Manipur, has won several international gold medals in boxing.

Though not in the same league as world champion Mary Kom, Sarita is one of India's most internationally decorated sportspersons and has consistently done her nation proud by swelling its medals tally and helping India rise in world rankings.

Born 1 March 1985


Sources include

Olympic Gold Quest

Claim to fame

Laishram Sarita is a boxer and has won a number of medals in major international tournaments.

She has fought in altogether four different categories, 51 kg, 52 kg, 54 kg and 57 kg.

Family background

Born in Mayang Imphal West District,

Sarita is the 6th child of 8 siblings (Two daughters and 6 sons).

Sarita had her taste for sports from local Sports Meets and Yaoshang (Holi festival)’s Sports meet since her early childhood days.

Born and brought up in economically backward family that depends of Agriculture.

With a careless boyish character she always assisted her parents at works from collecting firewood or assisting in the field work. This is the key to her physical stamina that is giving her strength to box her way through tough competitions.

Sarita was among the women boxers who took part in a show bout as a part of the introduction of Boxing in the National Games.

First triumphs

She made her debut bout (National arena) in the First Women’s National Boxing Championship in the year 2001, held at Chennai TN, JNI Stadium and won a first gold medal

Her first international appearance was on August, 2001 at the 1st Asian Women Boxing Championship, at Bangkok, Thailand and she won a silver medal.

She has won 16 medals in the different national boxing events out of which only one silver medal almost perfect performance

15 medals, including two gold medals in the World Women Boxing Championships, in 18 international events.

National honours

She was honoyred with the prestigious Arjuna Award in the year 2009 for outstanding international achievements.

Major international triumphs






First Asian Women Boxing Championship




Second Asian Women Boxing Championship




Third Asian Women Boxing Championship

Kaohsiung City, Taiwan



World Women Boxing Tournament




Venus International Women Boxing Championship




Fourth Asian Women Boxing Championship




Fifth Asian Women Boxing Championship




Commonwealth Games





Rishikesh Malkhede, Career highs of boxer Sarita Devi

Sarita was a state level Kung-Fu champion. She was introduced to boxing by her late Kung-Fu coach Ibotombi after seeing her enthusiasm in sports.

Sarita made her national-level debut in boxing at the First Women's National Boxing Championship in the year 2001; she won gold in the event.

Sarita Devi's first international medal

Sarita made her first international appearance in August 2001 at the 1st Asian Women Boxing Championship, Bangkok. She won the silver medal at the tournament in the 57kg category.

Sarita's winning streak at World Championships and Commonwealth Games

Sarita has the unique distinction of winning Asian championship medals in five different weight categories, including four gold medals.

In 2006, she won gold medal in 52kg category in the Women's World Boxing Championship, held in New Delhi.

In the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Sarita won the silver medal in the 57-60kg category

Sarita Devi was honoured with the prestigious "Arjuna Award" in the year 2009 for outstanding international achievements in boxing, having participated and won in various tournaments.

Asian Games 2014 boxing

Judges from Tunisia, Italy, Poland award bout to Korea in unanimous 3-0 decision

Mihir Vasavda | Incheon | October 1, 2014| Crying shame: L Sarita Devi spills tears after controversial decision Indian Express

Sarita Devi spills tears after controversial decision in favour of South Korean denies Indian a shot at gold.

Sarita Devi was knocked out in the semifinals of the 60kg category

Indian boxer Sarita Devi (60 kg) is contemplating returning the bronze medal she won on Tuesday after being declared the loser of her lightweight semifinal against South Korea’s Jina Park, a controversial decision that saw the Indian team lodge a protest, which the International Boxing Association (AIBA) rejected.

Sarita appeared to be cruising into the final after dominating her bout, but the judges from Tunisia, Italy and Poland awarded the bout to her Korean opponent in an unanimous 3-0 decision.

Shocked by the verdict, Sarita sarcastically applauded the referees before breaking into tears. Her’s wasn’t the only contentious decision taken by the judges on Tuesday. Another Indian boxer, Devendro Singh, and a Mongolian pugilist lost their quarterfinal bouts to Korean boxers amidst loud protests and boos.

Sarita, who won a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games, dominated her fight and when Park was awarded the win, it sparked a melee, which prompted police action. “I don’t accept this decision. It’s wrong,” a distraught Sarita said even as her husband Thoiba Singh confronted the match officials screaming: “You’ve killed boxing!”

Thoiba launched an expletive-laden tirade and tangled with security officials and organising committee official Jung Jaek Yu. He grabbed his wife’s arm and tried to lead her in protest back to the ring, where the next bout was already under way, resulting in scuffles as their path was blocked by security.

“Don’t tell me it’s OK! This is not OK! What the hell is going on here!” he shouted at the top of his voice. “She won this fight and you give it to Korea,” he yelled. “We will accept the medal (bronze) at the ceremony but are planning to return it as a mark of protest,” Thoiba said. Police were called into the arena and stood in a cordon between the press area and the ring.

“For me, there was only one winner and that was Sarita,” Vietnamese boxer Bang Li Thi, who had lost to Mary Kom earlier in the day, said.

Even an Olympic Council of Asia vice-president conceded that the result didn’t seem fair. “It is a bit shameful for us as hosts. There should be fair competition,” said Kim Haryun, a Korean journalist who works for a Japanese broadcaster.

Moments later, Mongolia’s bantamweight boxer Tugstsogt Nyambayar lost a contentious bout against South Korea’s Ham Sang-Myeong, which prompted a brief sit-in protest. The Mongolian supporters hurled empty plastic bottles at the judges and Nyambayar was given a standing ovation as he left the arena.

Both India and Mongolia lodged official complaints by paying $500. The International Boxing Association (AIBA) rules do not allow a boxer to appeal a judge’s verdict but the Indian team said they did not agree with the decisions taken by the referee inside the ring and demanded a review.

But the AIBA rejected the protest saying that the Indian team had essentially contested the judging. “After review of your protest for the bout #143 between India and Korea, the protest was about judging the bout. Following our article 8.4 in AOB Competition Rules, you cannot protest against judges decisions. Therefore, we would like to inform you that your protest is now rejected,” AIBA supervisor David Francis wrote in his protest evaluation notice to the Indian team.

The episode took the gloss off a successful day for India in boxing. Five-time world champion Mary Kom (51 kg) entered the final of her category. Vikas Krishan (75 kg) entered the semifinals along with Satish Kumar (+91 kg), assuring at least two bronze medals.

L Sarita Devi leaves her boxing bronze at podium

Press Trust of India | Incheon | October 1, 2014 L Sarita Devi stuns officials, leaves her Asian Games 2014 boxing bronze at podium

Crying bitterly on the podium, Sarita first refused to wear the medal before handing it over to South Korea's Park.

Distraught after losing her controversial semifinal bout, Indian boxer L Sarita Devi stunned officials and spectators by refusing to accept the bronze medal, which is now in the custody of organisers.

The lightweight (60kg) boxer was in disbelief on Tuesday when she lost against home favourite Jina Park, who ended up as the silver-medallist. Sarita was clearly the better of the two pugilists but the judges thought otherwise.

The Indian subsequently also lost an appeal against the judges’ decision and tearfully made her way to the medal ceremony on Wednesday.

Crying bitterly on the podium, Sarita first refused to wear the medal before handing it over to Park after sharing an emotional hug with the home boxer.

The former Asian and world champion then left the ceremony. Park, visibly rattled by the turn of events, left the medal on the podium and made her exit.

Sarita appeared to be a clear winner in the bout on Tuesday, dominating the proceedings with such ferocity that Park barely managed to stand the assault. But much to the shock of the Indian contingent and the spectators, the judges awarded the bout to Park.

A sobbing Sarita later told reporters that she had to do what she did at the medal ceremony to continue with her boxing career or else it would have stayed in her mind.

“It’s not that I did not want to accept the medal. I accepted it and then gave it back to the Koreans. I had to do this to continue with my boxing career or the memory of this incident would have stayed on in my mind. I would now go back and hug my infant child,” she said.

Borrows $500 to pay fee for lodging protest

Mihir Vasavda | Incheon | Updated: October 1, 2014 | Asian Games 2014: As Sarita Devi borrows to pay $500 as fee for lodging protest, IOA officials look other way, Indian Express

India’s L Sarita Devi, centre, cries standing on the podim at the Asian Games.
Photograph: Kin Cheung/ AP

Although senior IOA officials, were present at the venue, none offered assistance.

Sarita Devi waited for nearly an hour as she figured out how to file a protest

The difference couldn’t be starker. Barely 15 minutes after Mongolian boxer Tugstsogt Nyambayar was controversially ousted from the men’s bantamweight category, their entire contingent decided to take the International Boxing Association (AIBA) head on.

Like Sarita Devi, Nyambayar lost to a South Korean opponent after a controversial decision. While Nyambayar was the winner, at least according to a large number of those who watched the bout. The judges felt otherwise. They had awarded the bout to Sangmyeong Ham. Immediately, the Mongolian officials swung into action. Their chef de mission, Badmaanyambu Baterdene reached the venue within minutes, took up the issue with the organisers and led the protest.

While the Mongolian officials were swift to act, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) office-bearers chose not to involve themselves in Sarita’s case. Sarita did not even have the $500 required to lodge a protest with AIBA. Her husband had to depend on Sarita’s coach Lenin Meitei and an Indian journalist to pay the amount.

The boxer, who felt she was a victim of a ‘pre-determined’ bout, waited for almost an hour for assistance as she and her husband Thoiba Singh tried to work out a way to submit an official protest. The coaches, who were busy attending the other boxers whose bouts were lined up, could not tend to their needs. In the end, they had to fend for themselves.

Although senior IOA officials, including secretary general Rajeev Mehta and deputy chef de mission Kuldeep Vats, were present at the venue, none offered assistance. Mehta, instead, asked a couple of journalists and Sarita herself as to why there was a delay in lodging the protest, unaware of the protocols and procedures himself. “Don’t worry, it will be fine,” he then told her. Even Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) secretary general Randhir Singh decided to steer clear from the issue. He and Vats left the venue soon after Sarita’s bout.

Sarita Devi warned for refusing to accept Asiad bronze

4 October 2014 The Guardian

Indian boxer L Sarita Devi warned after refusing to accept Asian Games bronze

• Devi has since apologised for behaviour at medal ceremony

• Five National Olympic Committees complain over judging

The Indian boxer L Sarita Devi has escaped with a warning after apologising for refusing to accept her bronze medal at the Asian Games.

The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) said it was not impressed by her behaviour at the medal ceremony but decided to let her off with a warning after she issued an unconditional apology and the Indian delegation assured the OCA it had not planned the incident.

“We decided to give this athlete a strong warning,” the OCA honorary life vice-president Wei Jizhong told a news conference on Saturday. “We considered this had nothing to do with the Indian delegation. This is just a personal misbehaviour of the athlete.”

The following day, she refused to wear the bronze medal when it was presented to her, taking it only in her hand before trying to drape it over Park. When the presentation was over, Sarina left the medal behind, despite being told by the organisers to take it with her.

“As an athlete, she had to respect the referee’s decision,” the OCA president Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah said. “She feels sadness because she felt she deserved better, but she also killed the moment for the other athletes. I am happy she apologised and this will not happy again.”

Sarita was just one of a number of beaten boxers who questioned the judging at the Asian Games and Ahmad said the OCA would carry out an investigation after receiving a number of formal complaints. “We received letters from five different NOCs (National Olympic Committees) commenting about the boxing,” he said.


The Times of India, May 9, 2015

Sarita Devi is the most successful woman boxer in the country after MC Mary Kom. The veteran pugilist from Manipur had a productive year in 2014 when she won a silver in the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and followed it with a bronze in the Incheon Asiad. She stirred a hornet's nest when she refused to take her Asiad medal and was subsequently banned by the world boxing federation, AIBA. But she was later allowed to participate in the Rio Olympics.

2016: After a year’s ban

Suprita Das, Sarita Devi’s one last chance, May 11 2016, Live Mint

Sarita Devi has buried the controversy of the 2014 Asian Games to come back fitter and stronger. Now comes the final trial

The Commonwealth Games silver medallist and Asian Games bronze medallist was out of the ring for more than a year.

In October 2014, Sarita was banned for a year by the boxing’s world governing body, the Amateur International Boxing Association (Aiba), after she returned her bronze medal at the Asian Games podium in Incheon, South Korea, in a dramatic and tearful protest against what she and her husband believed was a biased decision in favour of the South Korean boxer she lost her semi-final to.

The controversy over her actions, and those of her husband—who had to be dragged out screaming and protesting from the stadium—went on for months, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise for the 60kg (lightweight) boxer.

Sarita got her broken wrist—with which she won her Commonwealth and Asian Games medals in 2014—fixed (she had broken her wrist five days before the Commonwealth Games). She could focus entirely on becoming fitter, tougher and more skilful, and trained at multiple venues when she was serving her ban—Bengaluru, Pune, Aurangabad, New Delhi, and even Liverpool, UK.

“In my 15 years as a boxer, this is the fittest I have been,” Sarita says. “I worked under physios and trainers who made me think about what I was doing, whether it was in the gym, or in the boxing ring.”

Sarita was supported throughout by the non-profit Olympic Gold Quest, which arranged and paid for her wrist surgery in Mumbai, and also ensured the best possible recovery process. In Bengaluru, Sarita spent months training with celebrity strength and conditioning coach Deckline Leitao.

“The first time she came to me, she was completely out of shape,” says Leitao. “Her wrist was, of course, still sore from surgery, so we couldn’t touch that for a long time. There was a lot of flab in her mid-section, but her legs were strong. So we had something we could start off with.”

Sarita’s condition was like that of an old car, Leitao says. “It needed special care. An ordinary mechanic couldn’t fix it. She realized that age wasn’t on her side. When you’re old and injured, it really is the worst possible combination.”

But more than the physical, it was the mental aspect that needed to be taken care of. “I could see where she was coming from, a bag full of really bad memories and emotions,” Leitao says. “But you could tell she was ready to leave that behind and start afresh. That for me was half the job done.”

“It could have been much worse,” Sarita says in hindsight. “Aiba could have given me a life ban, but it didn’t. It was a sign, and I had to follow it.”

And so began her journey of getting back into the ring. From being exhausted after just 10 lunges on the day she started training with Leitao in Bengaluru, to bashing up a truck tyre with a sledgehammer at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) Centre in Aurangabad to strengthen her core and arms a few months later, Sarita was amazed at the progress she made.

In New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi Stadium, Sarita took the taping off her wrist after an intense sparring session with coach Damodaran Chandralal. Her body was soaked in sweat. Chandralal, who has trained Sarita from the beginning of her career as a national-level boxer, was amazed at the turnaround.

After serving out her ban in October [2015], Sarita had to wait till January [2016] for her first competitive fight. She went to an invitational tournament in China and made it to the final.

“My husband was more nervous than me!” Sarita says. “After my first-round bout, I WhatsApped the video of the bout to him. He saw me in the ring, and only then he was relieved.”

That was followed by the South Asian Games (SAG) at home, where she won gold, beating a Sri Lankan boxer in the final.

“Thank you for your love,” she said in an interview to Doordarshan at the SAG in Shillong, after winning her medal. “I need your blessings to get to the Olympics and do well.” When congratulated on her winning return to the ring, Sarita asked: “Did I speak alright in that interview? Nothing controversial, right?” She beamed.

In March, Sarita’s quest to qualify for the Olympics suffered a setback when she lost in the quarter-final of the Asian/Oceania Olympic Qualifiers in China. A spot in the final would have earned her a ticket to Rio. She lost to a Vietnamese boxer by a split decision. It could have been déjà vu for Sarita—according to the officials with the Indian contingent in China, she was the clear winner. But this time there was no outburst, no theatre, no tears. Two days after the competition, Sarita returned to India with the rest of the boxers, and resumed training.

Suprita Das is a senior sports correspondent with NDTV.


Decides to make pro debut

PTI | Imphal | January 28, 2017 | Sarita Devi to make pro debut on Sunday

It was the beginning of a new phase for celebrated Indian woman boxer L Sarita Devi as she made her foray into the professional circuit by taking on veteran Hungarian Zsofia Bedo in her debut bout, in Jan 2017.

The five-bout Fight Night, was conducted by the Indian Boxing Council

Sarita, a former world champion and Asian Games bronze-medallist, had a face-off with her opponent Zsofia here today. The 59-pro bout veteran from Hungary has experience on her side, but Sarita exuded confidence that she had trained hard to silence her opponent.

“These (professional) boxers always make tall claims. I have trained really hard, my coach is among the best in professional boxing, he is monitoring my progress. He is confident, I have trained up to 8 hours every day. I am playing for the pride of Manipur, I am playing for the pride of India,” Sarita said.

“I have to give a gift of victory to my fans. Ask her (Zsofia) after the bout tomorrow, you will find her looking for excuses. She made fun of my emotions yes I cry, because I am not ready to lose,” she added.

Zsofia was quick to brush aside Sarita’s assertions.

“She (Sarita Devi) is starting her career. She will start learning about pro boxing. Her amateur past is nothing here. I have come so far, it is only to win. If u have fan support, there is pressure on you. May be everyone knows here who is Sarita. On Sunday evening they will know there is a girl from Hungary Zsofia Bedo, who beat Sarita in her home city,” she said.

A winning start


Sarita and three-year-old son, Tomthil, after her victorious pro-debut

Celebrated Indian woman boxer L Sarita Devi comfortably outpunched Zsofia Bedo of Hungary to make a winning start to her professional career in the IBC Fight Night at the at the Khuman Lampak Stadium, here on Sunday.

Zofia Bedo had challenged to reduce Sarita to tears but it was Sarita who settled the scores in the ring in front of roaring fans at her hometown.

The Iron Lady of Indian boxing, Sarita won the bout by unanimous verdict.

"The Asian Games incident was very painful. I had to erase those sad memories. That was one big factor I decided to turn pro. For any mother to stay away and not to feed her child is the biggest sacrifice. I made that sacrifice for this day," said Sarita, while hugging her three-year-old son in the ring.

Zsofia and Sarita have been engaged in verbal spats since the announcement of this bout. The Hungarian had said that she would reduce Sarita to tears yet again.

But the Hungarian was forced to clinch Sarita time and again to escape the flurry of hooks and punches. Zsofia had an experience of 59 pro bouts behind her, but debutante Sarita was a better boxer from the word go, flooring Zofia in round two.

So hurt was Sarita by Zsofia's challenges and verbal punches that she decided to stay away from her three-year-old son even as she had returned to her hometown after four weeks of rigorous training.


Major achievements

Devadyuti Das, November 15, 2018: The Times of India

Place of Birth: ThoubalKhunou, Manipur Category: Light welterweight (60kg)

Manipur’s Sarita Devi has five Asian titles besides along with her world championships medals. Recently, she picked up silver at the Indian Open International championships in New Delhi in January this year and represented India at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast. Sarita has the rare distinction of winning four gold and a silver in five different weight categories at the Asian championships.


Silver, Indian Open International Championships, New Delhi

Gold, Sr. National Boxing Championships, Rohtak


Bronze, 2017 Asian Women’s Boxing Championships, Vietnam

Silver,2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games

Bronze, 2014 Incheon Asian Games

Gold, 2010 Asian Boxing Championships, Kazakhstan

Bronze, 2008 AIBA World Boxing Championship, Ningbo City

Silver, 2005 World Boxing Championship, Norway

Gold, 2005 World Boxing Championship, New Delhi

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