GUWAHATI, April 1 - “The postponement of the Tokyo Olympic Games should be a boon for me as a bigger medal in international arena might be in my kitty next year,” views a lanky Lovlina Borgohain who has earned a berth to compete in the boxing discipline at the ‘Greatest Show on Earth’.
“Had it been held in July-August this year, the preparation would have been in a hurry. But now, I will get adequate time to prepare myself for the mega event,” adds the first Assamese woman athlete to have qualified for the Olympics.
The girl from Borpathar in Golaghat district earned the ticket to Tokyo Olympics at the continental qualifiers held in Amman, Jordan last month after entering the last-four stage of the tournament. Gold or silver medal has been playing hide and seek with her as in three international events (Russia, New Delhi and Jordan) she had to be satisfied with bronze medal. On all the occasions, Lovlina went down to Asian boxers.
“I have never lost to Europeans or boxers from other continents. But the Chinese and Chinese Taipei boxers have been a tough nut to crack for me. Chin-Nien Chen of Chinese Taipei beat me four times. But I am determined, if I meet her in the Olympics, I will definitely do my best to overcome her,” says Lovlina.
“I am comfortable against the boxers who fight from near. But I have some hesitation against those who fight from distance just like me,” admits the 22-year-old pugilist.
She is now at her Borpathar residence with her parents Tiken Borgohain and Mamoni Borgohain and her two elder sisters after arriving home on March 14. But she is not just passing time being idle amid a nationwide lockdown in the wake of coronavirus outbreak. She does not have all the training facilities at home, yet Olympics is on her radar every passing minute.
“I am very much well and enjoying days with my parents and sisters. My coaches and fellow boxers are helping me in continuing the workout. I have a punching bag with me and with that I am continuing shadow practice… I am also keeping physical fitness by running on my village roads. I am leaving no stone unturned in keeping myself 100 per cent fit,” says Lovlina as she talks over phone from her home.
“The Boxing Federation of India and my coaches provide me with videos through which I have been able to carry out regular training. I also shoot videos of my training at home and send them to my coaches who provide further inputs after seeing them,” elaborates the boxer about her daily training regimen.
The year 2012 was the turning point of her career. Lovlina started with kick boxing in her school days but boxing coach Padum Boro insisted her to wear the gloves and take up the sport. In that very year, Assam Amateur Boxing Association secretary Hemanta Kumar Kalita picked her to represent Assam in the sub-junior boxing nationals held in Kolkata. On the first venture she picked a gold medal and her glorious journey in this field began.
She then joined programme under the Sports Authority of India (SAI) where she honed her boxing skills and finally managed to earn a berth for Olympics which is a dream of every sportsperson. “I had a soft corner for the game. After seeing Shiva Thapa in London Olympics the gloves gave me a clarion call and I gladly accepted it,” she says.
At present, during the time of coronavirus pandemic, following all precautionary measures she is accompanying her father and elderly persons in helping the needy people of her locality with some food stuff and other materials. She personally donated Rs 35,000 to the Assam Arogya Nidhi set up by the State government to fight the coronavirus outbreak. The ace boxer has also appealed to the people to keep fit and follow all the guidelines to beat the dreaded disease.