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Assam CM says boxer Lovlina symbol of inspiration, presents her Rs 1 crore

Assam CM says boxer Lovlina symbol of inspiration, presents her Rs 1 crore

Guwahati, Aug 12: Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma presented Tokyo Olympic boxing bronze medallist Lovlina Borgohain Rs one crore and offered the post of deputy SP in the state police at a felicitation programme here on Thursday.

Sarma said that the state government has also decided to give Borgohain, the first person to bring an Olympic medal to the state, Rs one lakh monthly as a scholarship till the Paris Olympic in 2024 as "she has set her eyes on winning a gold there".

A road in Guwahati will also be named after the boxer who will always remain a "symbol of inspiration and hope" for the future generation, Sarma added.

Four coaches - Prashanta Das, Padum Barua, Sandhya Gurung and Rafael Gamavaska - who were a part of Borgohain's boxing journey will be honoured with Rs 10 lakh each as a token of gratitude from the people of Assam, the chief minister said.

He also announced that a sports complex with a boxing academy will be set up in the Sarupathar constituency under which her village Baro Mukhiya falls in Golaghat district to groom many more rural talents.

"Lovlina has etched her name in gold in the pages of the state's history by bringing the first (Olympic) medal to the state. We are very proud of her and on behalf of all the people of the state, I congratulate and thank her," Sarma said.

Speaking on the occasion, Borgohain who clinched the welterweight (69 kg) bronze in Tokyo Olympics, said that though she brought a medal for the country and did not return empty-handed, she felt sad for failing to win gold.

The 23-year-old boxer promised the people of Assam that she will bring gold from the Paris Olympics.

Sarma said, "We will always be proud of what she has brought for the state and we do not view her in the context of what she will bring for us in the future."

"Her journey from a remote village to the Olympic podium, overcoming immense odds which include poverty, her mother's illness and father's struggles, will hopefully inspire many and lead to the emergence of many more Lovlinas in the state," the chief minister said.

He also recalled the contribution of three other Olympians - boxer Shiva Thapa, badminton player Dipankar Bhattacharjee and archer Jayanta Talukdar - along with athlete Hima Das who has made the state and nation proud.

Das came into the limelight after winning 400m gold in the World Junior Championships in Finland in 2018. She failed to be part of the Indian team for the Tokyo Olympics due to injury.

Sarma expressed hope that both Das, who has also been appointed as DSP in the state police, and Borgohain will work towards creating many more sporting talents in the state.

He thanked Borgohain's parents Tiken and Mamoni for nurturing the talent of their daughter, despite the many obstacles that came their way.

A visibly emotional Borgohain said, "The people of Assam prayed for me and this gave me immense strength and never for a moment did I think that I will not win a medal.... I will fulfil the dreams of the people and bring home gold from Paris," she said.

The boxer hoped that many more players will come out of Assam as there is no dearth of talent in the rural areas and people must realise that it is possible to build a career through sports too.

She appealed to parents to encourage their children to play and hone their talents in sports.

"My aim will be to bring more players from the state to the national and international arena and help in making it the sports capital of the country," she added.

Besides the cheque of Rs one crore, the chief minister gifted her a muga shawl, the traditional 'gamosa' (cotton towel), 'horai' (a bell metal product given to a guest as a mark of honour) and the 'japi' (headgear) at the function held at Srimanta Sankardeva Kalakshetra here.

Representatives of the Assam Boxing Association, Assam Olympic Association and the Assam Cricket Association also felicitated her on the occasion.

Governor Jagadish Mukhi and his wife Prem Mukhi also felicitated Borgohain when she called on them at the Raj Bhawan in the evening.

"Lovlina's triumph at the world's biggest sporting event will be a source of inspiration for hordes of youngsters across the state and the country," the governor said.

He presented her with a cheque of Rs five lakh along with other traditional objects of honour.

Later, a delegation of the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee, led by its President Bhupen Borah, felicitated her at the city hotel where she is staying and presented her with a cheque of Rs three lakh as a token of blessing, along with a citation, a traditional shawl, 'gamosa' and 'japi'.

Borgahain arrived here to a warm welcome with the chief minister receiving her at the Lokopriyo Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport.

She will, however, not visit her village Baro Mukhiya now as she will go to Delhi to attend the Independence Day event where Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to meet the Olympic medallists.

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