Tokyo Olympics

Exclusive: Fearless Lovlina's Olympic dream turns into reality Filed on July 30, 2021
India's Lovlina Borgohain celebrates after winning against Chinese Taipei's Chen Nien-Chin at the Tokyo Olympics on Friday. (AFP)

Remarkably, Lovlina, 23, had no clue what the Olympics was until nine years ago

Right from her childhood days, Lovlina Borgohain’s fearlessness surprised everyone in her village. “Once she sets her mind to something, she would never back off,” Tiken Borgohain, her father, recalls.

So when Lovlina realised who her quarterfinal opponent was at the Tokyo Olympics, the tall Indian boxer had only one thing on her mind – revenge.

Chen Nien-Chin, the 2018 world champion from Chinese Taipei, had beaten Lovlina in all four of their past fights.

So Lovlina came out with all guns blazing on Friday and stunned Chen with a flurry of punches.

“All I wanted to do was prove a point to myself by being fearless against her. I was just looking for revenge,” said Lovlina after becoming only the third athlete from India’s northeast region to secure an Olympic medal with the emphatic 4-1 win in the 69kg quarterfinal bout.

It was Lovlina’s fearlessness that had set her apart in Baro Mukhia, a small village in the Golaghat district of Assam.

“As a kid, she was fearless. She would do stuff that even the boys in our village could never think of,” Tiken Borgohain, Lovlina’s father, told Khaleej Times over phone from Assam.

Remarkably, Lovlina, 23, had no clue what the Olympics was until nine years ago.

“It was my father's dream to see me at the Olympics. I didn't even know what the Olympics was,” Lovlina, a two-time world championship bronze medallist, had told Khaleej Times last year after qualifying for the Tokyo Games.

“That’s true, she didn’t know about the Olympics,” her father recalled on Friday.

“In 2012 when she was selected for the National Sub-Junior Boxing Championships, I told her that it was only the start and that she had to aim for the Olympics. But she was too young to know anything about the Olympics.

“So today is a historic day for us. Our dream has turned into a reality with this Olympic medal. As a father, I am very proud of my daughter.”

Lovlina’s run to the Olympic semifinal has also made Padum Boro very proud.

It was Boro, a boxing coach at the Sports Authority of India (SAI), who first saw the talent in Lovlina.

“I first met Lovlina during our talent hunt mission in 2012 in the Golaghat district. She was doing kick-boxing then. But I saw the power in her punch and her biggest advantage was her height (1.77m). I sent her to SAI, Guwahati. That’s how her journey started as a boxer,” Boro told Khaleej Times over phone from Assam.

Lovlina’s semifinal rival on August 4 will be Turkey’s Busenaz Sürmeneli, the 2019 world champion.

But Boro says Lovlina, whose mother has been battling a serious illness, has what it takes to win it all.

“Technically, she is sound and mentally she is very strong. She is a fighter,” Boro said. “And the way she fought today, if she can do two more fights like that, she will win the gold.”


Rituraj Borkakoty

A big fan of the Argentina national football team, Rituraj generally writes on sports. But he deeply cherishes the time he spent with his favourite musician from Assam, India, for an interview. And he loves to bring human interest stories to Khaleej Times readers.

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