Guwahati: Olympic bronze medallist boxer Lovlina Borgohain on Friday said that during the next visit to her home state Assam, she will meet children and allow them to touch her medal so that they are inspired to strive for it.

Speaking at a felicitation programme before leaving for Delhi, Borgohain said that she will return to the state next week and ask children to take up sports and focus on winning medals for the nation.

“When I had set my eyes on the Olympics, I wanted to touch and feel the medal at least once. Now that I have brought a medal to Assam, I want as many children as possible to touch, feel and be inspired by it,” she said.

Lovlina Borgohain who clinched the welterweight (69 kg) bronze in the Tokyo Olympics said that she had always wondered why so few medals are won by India and “I have realised that it is due to the fact that sports are still not a part of our curriculum”.

Sports should be made a compulsory subject in our education system and if this is done, sportspersons from the country can win many more medals as they are capable of doing hard work, the 23-year-old boxer said.

Asked about her future plans, she said that in the next four years, there are the World Championship, Commonwealth Games and the Paris Olympics.

“I will have to start preparing right from the beginning, working on my weaknesses and strengthen myself further, so that there will be no excuses for Paris,” she said.

Also read | COVID-19 review: Health minister Mansukh Mandaviya to visit Assam on Aug 17

Referring to her bouts in the Tokyo Olympics, Lovlina Borgohain said that each and every match was tough, but the lost semifinal bout taught her many lessons, particularly the areas on which she needs to concentrate and improve upon.

“I had lost to my quarter-final opponent four times earlier. I was under a lot of stress but I did not lose my self-confidence and went on to play with determination to win the match and the bronze medal for the country. My competition was with myself,” she said.

The boxer said that there were challenges last year as she had tested COVID-19 positive, could not practise during the lockdown and her mother was also sick.

“But I did not brood over it or lost my self-confidence and focus. I could not do enough to get gold, but at least I brought a medal for the country,” Lovlina Borgohain said.

She also hoped that her winning an Olympic medal will be a motivation for girls to focus on a goal and strive hard to achieve it.

Asked if she has changed in any way after winning the medal, she said, “I am the same Lovlina but I consider myself lucky that people have bestowed on me immense love and blessings for bringing the bronze home”.

On the Assam government offering her the post of Deputy Superintendent of Police, she said that she had not played to get a job.

“My parents, however, wanted me to get a job as they are worried about what I will do after 10 to 15 years from now when I stop playing. Now that it has been offered to me, I will perform my duty by playing for the country,” she added.

Lovlina Borgohain was felicitated by Assam Sports Minister Bimal Borah, General Secretary of Assam Olympic Association Lakhya Konwar, various sports associations, and other members of the sports fraternity of the state.

She had arrived here on Thursday and was received by Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma at the airport and felicitated later in the day.

Lovlina Borgohain left for Delhi to attend the Independence Day celebrations where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet the country’s medal winners in the Tokyo Olympics.

Also read: Assam’s patriotism hit by COVID-19?

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