Lovlina Borgohain punches her way to an Olympic medal; joins list of elite Indian boxers

  • Tokyo Olympics: "You can make history for India," the Indian women's boxing coach Raffaello Bergamesco said to her between the rounds and yet again Borgohain took control of the third to romp home to a win.
India's Lovlina Borgohain clenches her fist after winning her bout against Chen Nien-Chin of Chinese Taipei during women's welterweight (64-69kg) category boxing match, at the Summer Olympics 2020 in Tokyo. (PTI)
India's Lovlina Borgohain clenches her fist after winning her bout against Chen Nien-Chin of Chinese Taipei during women's welterweight (64-69kg) category boxing match, at the Summer Olympics 2020 in Tokyo. (PTI)
Updated on Jul 30, 2021 10:48 AM IST
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By Avishek Roy

Lovlina Borgohain let out a scream so loud that it cut through the empty Kokugikan Arena and hung there for a while, ricocheting off the high domed ceiling of the revered home of Sumo wrestling. She had just beaten NC Chen of Chinese Taipei 4-1 in the women’s boxing quarterfinals to assure a second Tokyo Olympic medal for India.

After Vijender Singh in 2008 and Mary Kom in 2012, both bronzes, Borgohain is now the third boxer ever from India to win an Olympic medal. In Olympic boxing, both losing semifinalists get the bronze. If Borgohain wins her semi, she will become the first Indian boxer in an Olympic final.

The lanky boxer was scrappy to start with. The first round was cagey and neither Borgohain nor Chen managed to control the bout, though the ruled narrowly in favour of the boxer from Assam. From the second round, Borgohain was transformed. She took control, her footwork and defensive play was assured and her counters efficient. The more desperately Chen threw her punches, the more Borgohain dictated the ring. The round went to her 5-0.

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"You can make history for India," the Indian women's boxing coach Raffaello Bergamesco said to her between the rounds and yet again Borgohain took control of the third to romp home to a win.

“I have been working hard for eight years, so I thought I will have to show that hard work. I just wanted to be aggressive from the start,” said Borgohain, a two-time world championships medallist.

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Her success also attested to the talent of athletes from the North-eastern states, coming on the heels of the silver medal exploits of Mirabai Chanu in weightlifting. Borgohain came out to meet the press with a traditional gamosa around her neck.

Borgohain had lost against Chen in their previous four meetings before the Olympics, but today she was not to be denied.

“I thought I will play it easy, whatever the situation I will handle. I have lost four times. I used to think too much about her. Today I went with the strategy of attacking and not staying on the back foot,” she said.

Borgohain said she will be even more free in the semifinals, now that a medal is sure for the country.

“I can play freely now. I did not take any tress. If you take stress, it is not good. I just wanted to prove myself. I wanted to prove that I can beat her.”

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Thursday, October 21, 2021