Gritty Lovlina from Assam punches her way to an assured Olympic medal

The plucky boxer was cagey in the first round, but from the second round, she changed her tactic, throwing her opponent on the defensive

Lovlina would be the third boxer ever from India to win an Olympic medal after Vijender Singh in 2008 and Mary Kom in 2012. PTI Photo

Lovlina Borgohain was full of it as she roared aloud, filling the empty Kokugikan Arena of the revered home of Sumo wrestling. Moments before she beat NC Chen of Chinese Taipei 4-1 in the women’s boxing quarterfinals to assure India of a second Olympic medal.

In Olympic boxing, both losing semifinalists get the bronze. If Lovlina wins the semi, she will become the first Indian boxer in an Olympic final. Lovlina would also be the third boxer ever from India to win an Olympic medal after Vijender Singh in 2008 and Mary Kom in 2012, both bronzes.

She won the last 8 bout via a 4:1 split decision on Friday (July 30). In the ‘Round of 16’ bout, Lovlina had defeated Nadine Apetz of Germany. She had won that bout 3:2 on Tuesday. Lovlina will now take on top seeded Busenaz Surmeneli of Turkey in the semi-final bout.

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The plucky boxer was cagey in the first round. From the second round, Borgohain changed her tactic. Her footwork was more agile and her defense was superb. Chen grew desperate as Lovlina ruled the ring. The result: 5-0 in favour of the rising star from Assam.

“You can make history for India,” the Indian women’s boxing coach Raffaello Bergamesco said to her between the rounds and yet again Borgohain took control of the third to romp home to a win, HT quoted Bergamesco.

“I have been working hard for eight years, so I thought I will have to show that hard work. I just wanted to be aggressive from the start,” said Borgohain, a two-time world championships medallist. Borgohain came out to meet the press with a traditional gamosa around her neck.

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Lovlina is yet another symbol of the sporting talent from the North-East. Mirabai Chanu from Manipur has already won the silver in weightlifting.

Borgohain had lost against Chen in their previous four meetings before the Olympics, but July 30 was another day.

“I thought I will play it easy, whatever the situation I will handle. I have lost four times. I used to think too much about her. Today I went with the strategy of attacking and not staying on the back foot,” she said.