Every major athletic event usually throws up heart-breaking stories of the incredible apathy and disdain of sports organizers in our country and how our sportspersons fight a solitary battle against the system, winning over insurmountable obstacles en route to their path to glory.
Imagine being selected for the Commonwealth Games but not being informed by the authorities, only to have a media outlet first break the story to you. Pugilist Lovlina Borgohain would have been naturally disappointed when she reportedly received a call from Northeast Now to congratulate her on being selected for 2018 Gold Coast. Lovlina had, however, not received any official intimation from the authorities by then.
The day the focus was firmly on Mary Kom who needed a win to ensure a maiden Commonwealth Games medal, Lovlina Borgohain was in the same position. Unnoticed, she had quietly scripted her way to potential glory. She lost out in the medal-confirming match, though but the buzz around her name wasn’t quiet anymore.
Having claimed a welterweight gold in India Open earlier this year, Lovlina, who hails from Golaghat district of Assam, had been selected for the 69kg category at the Commonwealth Games. She was a part of a formidable Indian women’s boxing contingent this year.
Together with her compatriots — five-time World champion and Olympic medallist M.C. Mary Kom (48kg), former World and Asian champion L. Sarita Devi (60kg), and former Commonwealth Games bronze medal winner Pinki Rani Jangra (51kg) ‘ Lovlina had raised India’s medal hopes in boxing this year. But though the others have proven themselves on the big stage, Lovlina was yet to replicate their successes.
Sarita Devi (lightweight) and Pinki Rani Jangra (flyweight) had won silver and bronze medals respectively at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014 ‘ the very year women’s boxing made its debut in the tournament.
After the Rio disappointment and ignominious exit of the first foreign coach for women, Stephane Cottalorda, over a payment dispute, women’s boxing once again had achievements to cherish last year. Mary Kom, who was already being written off by many, won gold at the Asian Championships in Vietnam.
Since the 2006 senior women’s event, the first world championship for women was hosted by India in 2017. The hosts claimed seven gold medals and emerged team champions, with International Boxing Association (AIBA) calling the event a resounding success.
Also for the first time since 2006, India made its mark in international boxing, winning the hosting rights for the world championships (2018 women’s and 2021 men’s).
Lovlina Borgohain herself had a great 2017 as she managed to clinch bronze medals at the Asian Women’s Boxing Championships and the President’s Cup. A medal-less Commonwealth Games performance followed but for now, India’s Lovlina Borgohain has confirmed a second Bronze for India.