‘Was Sidelined For Mary Kom,’ Claims Sarita Devi in New Docu

A documentary titled ‘I Rise’ captures the controversial moment in Sarita Devi’s life.

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“I put in a lot of hard work. I left my 6-month-old child, I started training 3 months after delivery. After so much struggle I got to play in the Asian Games. I could have played in the earlier Asian Games but that opportunity was taken away from me. So when I finally got a chance to play in the Asian Games, I had a chance to go for the gold medal, but I wasn’t given that chance.”
Sarita Devi, Indian Boxer

Sarita Devi, the boxer from Manipur recalls what happened during the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea. At the medals ceremony she refused to accept the bronze medal, Sarita was convinced that she had a shot at a gold medal, and it was unfairly taken away from her. Subsequently, AIBA suspended Sarita for her defiance and behaviour.

A new documentary ‘I Rise’ captures this very incident that now defines Sarita Devi –perhaps India’s most famous boxer after Mary Kom. In the film she also delves into her rivalry with Mary.

Though the two Indian boxing stars now compete in different categories, back in 2010, they were both vying for the 51kg category spot in the Indian contingent for the Asian Games. The trials were held in Bhopal where Sarita claims she was declared the winner but upon Mary’s protest, they were forced into a retrial at the Talkatora Stadium in New Delhi.

The retrial happened, I beat Mary Kom yet again. Even now, the judges and referees say I defeated Mary in the retrial. But she was given the chance.
Sarita Devi, Indian Boxer
The poster of 'I Rise'
The poster of 'I Rise'
(Photo: Borun Thokchom)

Produced by Films Divison , ‘I Rise’ has been directed Manipur filmmaker Borun Thokchom. The film was shot over a period of five years from spring 2015.

Borun Thokchom shooting with Sarita.
Borun Thokchom shooting with Sarita.
(Photo: Borun Thokchom/The Quint)
“Sarita was born and brought up in a very remote village in Manipur. She was from a very poor family. But despite all the odds, she struggled to become a celebrated sports star. Even at the peak of her career, she faced so much injustice and rejection. She stood strong and she rises above all, that’s why the film is called ‘I Rise’.”
Borun Thokchom, Director, ‘I Rise’

Borun’s last film ‘The Silent Poet’, was on Irom Sharmila. It won a national award in 2011. Though ‘I Rise’ has only played in the festival circuit, it has already won the 13th Manipur State Film Award (MSFA) in 2020.

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