Lovlina Borgohain during the award ceremony Credit: EastMojo image

Guwahati: Assam boxer Lovlina Borgohain formally became the sixth person from the state to receive the coveted Arjuna Award.

She also became the first from Assam to receive the award virtually, as the National Sports Awards ceremony 2020 was organized via Zoom on Saturday due to the pandemic situation across the country.

This is the first time ever in 44 years that the sportspersons received the national honours in an unparalleled online ceremony, during which athletes logged in from multiple cities to be honoured by President Ram Nath Kovind.

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Lovlina Borgohain with the Arjuna Award certificate

Borgohain, 22, who would have otherwise been at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in Delhi, accepting the coveted award from the President of India. She received the award in a PPE suit, while on the way from Patiala to Chandigarh.

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President of India Ram Nath Kovind appreciates the achievements of Borgohain

Speaking about her achievements and her journey from the remote Bara Mukhia village in the Golaghat district of Assam, the 22-year-old pugilist said that she has learnt to take things in her stride – whether it’s an opponent in the boxing ring or some age-old patriarchy.

Following is the excerpts from her interview with MyGov Assam:

Reaction after receiving the coveted Arjuna Award

I am very happy indeed to receive this Arjuna Award, as this title is a very precious one in a player’s career. But, to be honest, my prime aim was not the Arjuna award, as I was preparing myself for the Tokyo Olympics and to be able to bring laurels to India and Assam in the Olympics will always be my first priority.

On receiving the award virtually

In normal circumstances, I would have been able to go to Rashtrapati Bhavan, take a photo with the President of India. But it’s okay — it is what it is.

Stepping into the boxing arena

I always knew about boxing right from my childhood. When I was around class 6 -7, my dad brought me a paper cutting where there was an article about Muhammad Ali, it was that time, when I first learned and got attracted to what boxing was, and my dad told me more about Muhammad Ali. But during those we didn’t have much of exposure nor did we have any facilities for boxing in our area, so I almost forgot about boxing and I was training in martial arts. When I was in class 9, the sports teacher of our school introduced to me to Podum Boro sir, who was then the Boxing coach of the Sports Authority of India, Guwahati Region. This led me into the boxing world in 2012.

Challenges being a woman in achieving so much in the field of boxing

Being a woman, in the starting period, the environment in our village was such that girls were not allowed to explore much, but my parents never bothered such things. In spite of having three daughters, my parents always encouraged all of us to pursue a better path. In fact my parents were the ones who introduced me to the path of boxing. It’s not only being a woman, but as a sportsperson having to win and lose matches at different points of time, challenges will always be there in life.

Training during lockdown

Now I am quarantined in Patiala. From here I’ll be moving to Chandigarh, but during the initial phase of the lockdown I was in my home for almost five months.

I trained regularly at my home. In training camps we use to train twice a day, but while I was at home, I trained once a day. Nothing can be the substitute for camp training and therefore I was eager to join the camp as soon as I could.

Her interests other than sports

Cooking, gardening, farming, helping my parents, listening to music etc., are the things I liked to do apart from boxing. I did pretty much everything this time when I was back at home, as this was the first time since 2012 that I got an opportunity to stay at home for such a long time. Generally, I used to stay for a day or two at my home.

Message for aspiring and upcoming young talents in sports

The only thing that I would like to tell is that, if you have the talent and the will power, you will achieve it no matter what. Talent cannot be suppressed, only thing one needs is a strong will power, and success will come in your way

Borgohain, who has qualified for the Tokyo Olympics, is the first woman from Assam to qualify for the Olympics and the second boxer from the state to represent the country after Shiva Thapa.

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