Lovlina Borgohain — Assam's only Olympic medallist battled COVID and helped in relief work
Lovlina Borgohain, Assam's first woman to take part in Olympics, brings pride to her state, winning a bronze medal for India at Tokyo Olympics.
It took five days of gloom and disappointments since Mirabai Chanu's silver medal for India to drive its second medal home. When India's promising shooters failed to convert their success, boxer Lovlina Borgohain assured a medal for India, defeating Chinese Taipei's Nien-Chin Chen to reach women's welterweight semifinals in 69kg boxing.
Where she faced defeat at the hands of the reigning world champion from Turkey's Busenaz Surmeneli but, still managed to win a bronze medal.
The first-ever woman athlete to represent Assam in the Olympics, Lovlina took a defensive stance from the beginning trying to Surmeneli's series of punches. The Turkish kept on hurting Lovlina and added pressure by the end of Round 1. Surmeneli won the first round by 5-0.
The situation kept on becoming torrid for Lovlina. The Indian tried to knock back with her jab and landed a few occasional punches but couldn't deter the Turkish from her combination punches. Lovlina looked steamed off by Round 2 which the Turkish won by 5-0 again.
In Round 3, Surmeneli kept on her flurry of attacks with left hooks and right uppercut as Lovlina failed to respond back and ended Lovlina's shot at gold medal. She won the third round by 5-0.
She becomes the second woman boxer after Mary Kom to win an Olympic medal for India.
Hailing from Assam's Sarupathar constituency in the Golaghat district, Lovlina started her journey through kick-boxing and later switched to boxing. Weeks before her victory, today, her village natives and junior boxers initiated wall painting drives in various places in the Golaghat district to support and encourage Lovlina.
Lovlina finally rose up to her expectations and delivered her promise. In October 2020, the two-time world championship medal-winning boxer had tested positive for coronavirus hours before she was about to board a flight to Italy along with the Indian contingent for a training-cum-competition trip. But before that Lovlina, showed all her might to support Assam during its covid-relief work.
When COVID severely hit India and a lockdown was imposed in the country, Lovlina herself made 250 packets of fruits, vegetables, and dry ration for distribution to the needy people in her village Barpathar in Assam's Golaghat district.
For the 23-year-old, it all started while drawing inspiration from the legend Muhammad Ali.
One day her father brought some sweets, which were wrapped by a newspaper page. She took the newspaper and started reading, and she came to know about Muhammad Ali, and she developed her interest in boxing from there.
Lovlina started training for boxing in 2012 under coach Padum Boro. She was taken under Boro's wings after an impressive boxing trial held at her high school Barpathar Girls High School, by the Sports Authority of India.
2018 led to the biggest breakthrough of her career when she won the bronze medal at the AIBA Women's World Boxing Championships. She repeated her feat again in 2019 and was conferred the Arjuna Award by President Ram Nath Kovind.