Tokyo: A medal already secured, Lovlina Borgohain (69kg) will be in pursuit of history when she takes on reigning world champion Busenaz Surmeneli of Turkey in the Olympic semifinals here on Wednesday, aiming to become the first ever Indian boxer to advance to the Games final.
The 23-year-old from Assam, who started her career as a Muay Thai practitioner, has become only the third Indian boxer to ensure a podium finish at the showpiece after Vijender Singh (2008) and M C Mary Kom (2012).
Hers is also the first Olympic medal in boxing in nine years and the aim now is to reach where none before her has reached, the finals.
“Since the bout is in the afternoon, we have been training in the afternoon everyday for the past two days,” national coach Mohammed Ali Qamar said on the eve of the crucial fight.
“As for Lovlina, all that needs to be conveyed in terms of strategy has been conveyed to her and she is ready. These two have never faced each other before so it is an unchartered territory for both of them,” he added.
“She is very upbeat and confident about a good performance and I am sure she will deliver.”
The boxer herself seemed pretty clear about her path ahead after the semifinal win over former world champion Nien-Chin Chen on the Chinese Taipei.
“Medal to bas gold hota hai, let me get that first,” she had said after the historic triumph which ensured that the nine-strong Indian boxing team that came here has at least one medal to celebrate.
Borgohain has shown remarkable composure for a debutant at the sport’s biggest extravaganza. And it is this poise that might do the trick for her against the imposing opponent from Turkey, who is seeded top in the draw.
Surmeneli is also 23 and has collected two gold medals this year internationally.
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