Our Sports Reporter
GUWAHATI: She is yet to participate in the Olympics but has already entered the record books by earning a berth in the Tokyo Olympics. Lovlina Borgohain, the pugilist from Assam, will be the first female athlete from the State who represents India in an Olympic. The 22-year-old boxer, who is in the 69kg weight category, in a conversation with The Sentinel over telephone shares her feeling on her recent achievement and also outlined her plans about the Tokyo Olympics. Here is the excerpt.
The Sentinel (TS): You are the first women athlete from Assam who will participate in the Olympics. Your reaction.
Lovlina: I am really very happy. I started boxing with only one dream and that is to participate in the Olympics and win a medal for my country. So you can say a part of my dream has been fulfilled. Now I will try my best to win a medal in Tokyo which is my ultimate dream. On the other hand, to become the first female Olympian from Assam is a very fascinating moment for me and I will cherish it for my entire life.
TS: How was the qualifying round for you?
Lovlina: I was fully focused in the competition. I knew a win in the quarterfinal was enough to ensure a place in the Indian squad for the Tokyo Olympics. Uzbekistan’s Maftunakhon Melieva was my opponent in the quarters. She earlier played in separate weight category but this time we were in the same group. Once the referee signaled to start the bout, I didn’t think too much and only concentrated to overpower her. At the end it was turned to be a very easy bout for me.
TS: You were not in perfect shape in the semifinals. Exactly what happened !
Lovlina: During the quarterfinal tie, I was injured and the pain started to grow with the passage of time. The team’s physio and other support staff tried their best to heal my injury but the pain was unbearable and I was not able to sleep on the night before the semi-final bout. My movement was also badly affected. So hope you understand what my condition was at the time of the bout.
TS: The outbreak of the novel coronavirus across the globe puts uncertainty on the Tokyo Olympics. Can it spell trouble for you if the IOC goes ahead and hold the event as per schedule?
Lovlina: From my side all I can say that there is absolutely no problem. I am preparing myself for the Olympics keeping it in mind that next edition of the Games will start as per schedule in Tokyo. I feel, there is still some time on our hands to get full control over the disease. If it does not happen and the Olympics is deferred then we will think the next course of action.
TS: How do you see your chances in Tokyo ?
Lovlina: I know the playing style of all the boxers in my weight category who would likely be my opponents in the forthcoming Olympics. I played against many of them in different competitions and from those experiences, I can say that no one is unbeatable. Now, I am only concentrating in the preparation and if I can do it in the best possible way then I am very much confident about winning a medal in Tokyo.
TS: You have been associated with the Indian boxing team for a while. Any major changes you have noticed?
Lovlina: I can confidently say that we have progressed very much in the international circuit. Our women boxers have already booked four quotas for the forthcoming Olympics and I feel it is a very good achievement. Our federation, coaches and support staffs are really doing a wonderful job to take forward Indian boxing and it’s started to show results.