Tokyo: She isn’t quite happy with just a bronze in her debut Olympics but Indian boxer Lovlina Borgohain on Wednesday said it is nonetheless a huge reward for her sacrifices in the past eight years and she would celebrate it by taking her first vacation since 2012.
The 23-year-old native of Assam lost 0-5 in the welterweight (69kg) semifinals to reigning world champion Busenaz Surmeneli of Turkey here this morning.
“Accha to nahi lag raha hai. I worked hard for a gold medal so it is a bit disappointing,” Borgohain said after the bout, in which she was docked a point for not paying attention to the referee’s instructions and also endured two standing eight counts.
“I could not execute my strategy, she was strong, I thought if I play on the backfoot, I would get hit, so I went on the offensive but it didn’t work out as I had thought,” she explained.
“I wanted to hit her confidence, par hua nahi. She was relentless and that was the problem.”
Borgohain’s medal is nonetheless a historic achievement as it was the country’s first Olympic podium finish in boxing in nine years and only the third ever overall after Vijender Singh (2008) and M C Mary Kom (2012).
“I always wanted to compete in the Olympics and win a medal. I am glad I got a medal but I could have got more,” she said.
“I have worked for eight years for this medal. I have stayed away from home, not been with my family, not eaten what I would have like to, but I don’t think one should do this.
“I would also always feel that anything wrong I do would affect my game,” she said of the sacrifices — big and small — she made in her journey to the Olympic podium.
The youngster, who started out as a Muay Thai practitioner, took to boxing in 2012. She is already a two-time world championships bronze-medallist.
The build-up to the Games was a rough one for Lovlina Borgohain, who missed a training trip to Europe last year after contracting COVID-19.
Adding to her woes was the ill health of her mother Mamoni, who underwent a kidney transplant while the boxer was at a national camp in Delhi in 2020.
The pent up emotions of a difficult past few months were there on display in Borgohain’s quarterfinal win at the end of which she let out a huge scream.
“I will take a break of one month or more may be. I have never gone for a holiday ever since I took up boxing, I haven’t decided where I will but I will definitely take a holiday,” she said.
This medal has not just been life-changing for her but also for her native village in Assam’s Golaghat district and a concrete road is now being made leading up to her house in Baro Mukhia.
She laughed when she was told about it and merely said, “I am very happy that the road is being built. It would be nice when I go back home.”
Speaking of going back, Borgohain was asked about the lessons she has learnt from the campaign, in which none of the other eight Indian boxers in the fray could make the medal rounds with the men logging just one win in their entire campaign.
“I was not a very confident boxer but that is no longer the case. I am not scared anymore of anything,” said Lovlina Borgohain.
“I dedicate this medal to my country for praying for me, for supporting me. My coaches, federation, my sponsors, they have also helped me a lot.”
Borgohain especially thanked national assistant coach Sandhya Gurung for supporting her and requested that she be bestowed the Dronacharya award this year.
“Sandhya Gurung madam has worked hard on me. She has applied for Dronacharya award and I believe she deserves it. I hope she gets it and I want to thank her,” Lovlina Borgohain said.
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