Guwahati, Aug 4: She may have fallen short of making it to the gold medal bout, but Lovlina Borgohain has certainly delivered beyond expectations by securing the bronze – the only medal coming India's way in boxing.
Lovlina had to be content with the bronze after losing the 69kg category semifinal bout to top seeded Busenaz Surmeneli of Turkey via unanimous decision.
With the country sending its largest-ever contingent in boxing for the Tokyo Games, prospects were definitely high. However, things didn't turn out as expected with the boxers crashing out of the competition one after another. The Golaghat-born Lovlina making her first appearance at the Olympics not only showed exemplary courage and focus en route to the semifinals, but also scripted history by bagging the first medal for the State at the 'Greatest Show on Earth'.
Boxing Federation of India secretary Hemanta Kalita, who is also the general secretary of Assam Amateur Boxing Association, is delighted with Lovlina's performance. "She has always been a medal prospect since she went on to win the sub-junior nationals gold in 2012," said Kalita who has seen the young pugilist coming up through the ranks. Kalita revealed that the 23-year-old boxer won't get much time to settle down after returning from Tokyo as the World Championship is scheduled to be held in October this year.
The State government will felicitate Lovlina on her arrival following the Covid protocol. The government has also assured every possible help for her, including a job.
Boxing coach Padum Boro, who first spotted Lovlina as a Muay Thai player back in 2012, believes the semifinal loss will serve her as a learning experience in the future. "Now that she has become an Olympic medallist, expectations will be high. To stand firm on those expectations will be a bigger challenge for her," he said.
"Qualifying for the Olympics itself is a very big achievement. To win a medal is something which everyone dreams of. Lovlina went down fighting. I congratulate her," said fellow international boxer Bhagyabati Kachari.