GUWAHATI: The Olympics since the ancient days is undoubtedly considered as "greatest show on earth", be it the magnanimous Roman amphitheaters then or the larger than life state of the art stadiums now. As one of the most prestigious global sporting events, it remains the 'Mecca' for every athlete who dreams to represent their land nation on this stage of grandeur.
The best of the best sportspersons from all corners of the earth battle with each other to walk down the ultimate hall of fame. Players from India too had competed in different disciplines of sport from time to time in the past in this prestigious sporting spectacle and won laurels for their country.
The Covid-19 pandemic was one of the toughest phases that the entire world is going through and Tokyo Olympic was also hit by it. It was initially scheduled for 2020, Covid-19 pandemic forced the event and its organizers to postpone it by a year.
The glorious daughter of Assam and a promising pugilist, Lovlina Borgohain to is part of the Indian dream who aims at etching her name in the annals of history at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Like Lovlina, there is a proud list of athletes from Assam who have donned the nation's colors and have raised the tricolor higher.
Let us celebrate those brave hearts from Assam who has proved their mettle at one of the toughest competing grounds of all times, the Olympics. Here is a brief about the lives and times of those heroes!
She was born on October 2, the day of the Gandhi in 1997. Lovlina has already become part of a legend as she is the first internationally acclaimed woman boxer hailing from Assam. A true inspiration for generations to come, she participated in and won many national and international competitions. She is the first Assamese woman boxer and the second only Assamese boxer following Shiva Thapa to represent India at an Olympics. Lovlina bagged the bronze medal at the Asian Olympic Qualifiers in 2018 and went on to secure a place in the Indian Olympic team after defeating Maftunakhon Melieva of Uzbekistan 5-0 at the Asia & Oceania Boxing Olympic Tournament in 2020. Lovlina is currently ranked no. 3 in the welterweight category of the International Boxing Association (AIBA) world rankings with 1300 points.
Shiva is a Guwahati boy born on 8th December 1993 and is considered as one of the most famous pugilists of Assam. Shiva's perseverance and determination helped him carve out a special place in the world of sports. He represented India for the first time at the 2012 London Olympics, becoming the youngest Indian boxer to do so in the process. He won a gold medal at the Asian Olympic Qualifier, 2012 which was held in Kazakhstan. Shiva made history on July 2013, as he became the youngest Indian to win a gold medal at the Asian Confederation Boxing Championship at Amman, Jordan in the bantamweight category. Shiva represented India again at the 2016 Rio Olympics but unfortunately was defeated by the 2012 gold medallist Robeisy Ramírez who is from Cuba.
Jayanta Talukdar is another great name that has made Assam proud on several occasions. Born in Guwahati on 1986, Jayanta is a naturally talented athlete and is considered as one of the most promising archers of the country. He won silver in the 2004 Junior World Championships and again in 2006, he won individual gold at the Archery World Cup. Jayanta's success journey went forward as he bagged another gold medal at the FITA Meteksan World Cup, 2006, becoming India's first archer to win the top medal at the event. He won another gold medal at the South Asian Games and a bronze medal in the team competition at the 2006 Asian Games. Jayanta added another jewel on his crown when he became the third Assamese athlete to receive the Arjuna Award in 2007. Jayanta in both individual and team events represented the country at the 2012 London Olympics.
Considered as one of the most promising badminton players in the Indian history of the game, Dipankar Bhattacharjee is also hails from Guwahati and was born on 1 February 1972. His love for the game started at a very young age when his father introduced him to the sport. He then moved to Bengaluru in Prakash Padukone's Badminton Academy few years. Training under the all-time great along with others like Vimal Kumar, Dipankar made his way into the sub-junior national emerging as a promising talent in the sport. He then became a regular in the Assam State badminton team. He was India's flag-bearer in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, where he lost 4-15, 12-15 in the pre-quarters against then world No. 1 Zhao Jianhua of China. He won his first senior trophy in the year 1994, at the national level. He became the first Indian male badminton player to represent the country in two consecutive Olympics after participating in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Even though he lost to Hariyanto Arbi of Indonesia in the preliminary stage, Jayanta made Assam and the country proud on several occasions.
He is considered a legend in the history of Assam sports. Talimeren Ao is the first captain of independent India's first football team. Popularly known as T Ao, he is often regarded as one of the country's greatest footballers of all time. Ao was born in 1918 in Naga Hills of the then undivided Assam and was a central defender. He later played for prestigious clubs like the Maharana Club of Guwahati. Later he donned the iconic maroon & green jersey of the most prestigious football club of all times of the country, Mohun Bagan in 1943. With a 'razor sharp' footballing brain, he was considered a technical genius who understood the game as well as the opponent's mind. Ao was a tough center-back and a dedicated leader. He is an icon of Indian football. Ao led the country to the 1948 London Olympics as the first captain of independent India's first football team. It was under T Ao that India took its first-ever step in world football. Though India's first football game against the then Burma ended in a walkover, Ao is known in the annals of history as the first Indian footballer to steer his team heroically against the mighty footballing giant France.
Well, these were the men and women who made history for the country and their birthplace Assam. The list has just started and there are endless to come. Let's salute the spirit of the game and the culture, unity, team spirit and above all, the undaunted patriotism that sports can usher inside a person through that one moment when the world watches them with unbricked eyes when they wear the colors of this great nation called INDIA!