‘Will win gold in Paris’: Lovlina Borgohain tells Assam amid tumultuous welcome
Eight days after she won a bronze medal in the women’s 69 kg boxing category at Tokyo Olympics, Lovlina Borgohain landed in her home state Assam on Thursday to a huge welcome.
The 23-year-old, who is the first Olympic medal winner from Assam, landed at Guwahati’s Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi airport from New Delhi and was welcomed by a host of dignitaries led by Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma. A large crowd of overjoyed supporters and a big posse of journalists were also present.
“I am very happy to have brought a medal to Assam with all your love and blessings. I want to thank each and every one of you. It’s been a year since I last came to Assam. I have no words to express my feelings. I am sad that I wasn’t able to return with the gold medal,” said an emotional Lovlina after her arrival.
“I promise all of you that I will be back with the gold medal after Paris Olympics. The journey and struggles have been tough, but I have never wavered from my goal. I never cried during my struggles, but my tears started flowing the moment I reached Assam,” she said later at an event.
A special welcome ceremony was held at Guwahati’s Srimanta Shankardev Kalakshetra auditorium where CM Sarma announced a number of gifts and offers for Lovlina from the state government.
“Lovlina has expressed regret at not winning gold and promised to win gold in Paris. But we are not worried about the future. We are happy and proud that she has given Assam the rare pleasure of an Olympic medal after a 125-year wait. She is an inspiration for millions now. All our blessings and good wishes are with her,” CM Sarma said in his speech.
A cash reward of ₹1 crore, a scholarship of ₹1 lakh per month till Paris Olympics to help with her preparations, an offer of the post of deputy superintendent of police with Assam Police, a street in Guwahati named after her and a sports complex at her home constituency Sarupathar were the gifts announced for her by the Assam government.
Sarma also announced ₹10 lakh each to four of Lovlina’s coaches, Prasanta Das, Padum Boro, Sandhya Gurung and Rafael Bergamasco, for their contribution in helping her to achieve her dream of an Olympic medal.
“I would be happy if more youngsters are inspired and take up sports. There’s lot of talent in the rural areas of Assam and all over the Northeast and if they are given ample opportunity they will represent the country and bring more laurels. I urge all parents to encourage their children to take up sports as a career,” Lovlina said.
The event was attended by Assam’s athletic hero Bhogeswar Baruah, winner of 800 m gold for men at 1966 Asian Games, speaker Biswajit Daimary, Lovlina’s father Tiken Borgohain and a host of other dignitaries.
Lovlina will spend Thursday night in Guwahati and will return to Delhi on Friday where she will take part in the Independence Day celebrations. She will return to her home at Baromukhia village in Golaghat district on August 17.