The 23-year-old pugilist will meet reigning world champion Busenaz Surmeneli of Turkey, who hammered Ukraine's Anna Lysenko in her quarterfinal bout
Hyderabad: Debutant Lovlina Borgohain, a name only heard in the boxing circles till now, is all set to be etched in the history of Indian sport. She is the first woman boxer from Assam to qualify for Olympics and is now all set to secure a second medal for the country in this Tokyo Games. The plucky pugilist made history with a fine 4-1 win over Chinese Taipei’s Chen NC 4-1 in the 69kg quarterfinals to book a place in the semifinals. She followed in the footsteps of her two sisters by taking kickboxing but later showed interest in boxing. The rest is history.
The 23-year-old pugilist will meet reigning world champion Busenaz Surmeneli of Turkey, who hammered Ukraine’s Anna Lysenko in her quarterfinal bout.
However, Simranjeet Kaur was unlucky as she went down to Thailand’s Sudaporn Seesondee in the pre-quarterfinals of the 60kg category to make an early exit from the Games here. She lost 0-5 but I felt she put up a gritty performance.
But for Lovlina, it is all about guts and glory. She was forced to take a break from Olympics preparatory camp to be with her mother who underwent a kidney transplant. But soon after returning to the camp the coaching staff got infected with Covid-19 during the second wave of the pandemic. That did not stop the gutsy Lovlina in her preparation as she kept punching to be ready for the Olympics. It is yet another inspirational story.
On Friday when she took on Chen, there were a lot of apprehensions as Lovlina had a poor record against the Taipei pugilist. But as she stepped into the ring, it was a different Lovlina. She breathed confidence although the odds were stacked against her. Quite early in the bout, Chen went for hard punches but Lovlina avoided those blows. It was more of a holding game. But the Indian kept Chen at bay although I was worried about her positioning.
Lovlina made some clever moments. There were three good blows in the first round even though it was a close finish. In the second, Chen tried to wrest the advantage but Lovlina was good enough to stay ahead of the Taipei boxer.
Starting with a two-point advantage, it was all about Lovlina to keep getting the points but she was clearly the dominant boxer although she played a perfect waiting game. It helped her in the end as an aggressive Chen could not pierce Lovlina’s defence. The Indian definitely took advantage of her height.
It is a truly gritty show for a girl who was raised in Golaghat’s Baro Mukhia village before she shifted to Guwahati to realise her boxing dreams. She joins boxers Vijender Singh (2008) and M C Mary Kom (2012) to win a medal in Olympics.
(The author is a former boxer, participated in 1992 Barcelona Games)
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