Guwahati, Aug 4 : Soon after boxer Lovlina Borgohain bagged a bronze medal for India on Wednesday at the Tokyo Olympics, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma tweeted to congratulate the pugilist, saying that her name will be etched in golden letters in the history of Assam.
Even as the 23-year-old from Golaghat district of Assam lost her 64/69kg category last-four bout to Turkey’s Busenaz Surmeneli at the Ryogoku Kokugikan Arena, people across Assam said that Lovlina had won the hearts of millions of people from the northeastern states and the country.
Sarma tweeted, “Congratulations to Assam’s daughter Lovlina Borgohain for bringing home the bronze medal in the Olympics boxing. Your name will be etched in golden letters in the history of Assam. The entire nation is proud of your phenomenal achievement.”
Assam’s Sports and Youth Welfare and Cultural affairs minister Bimal Borah tweeted, “A red letter day for Assam as the state gets its 1st Olympic medalist in Lovlina Borgohain who wins in her maiden Olympics. Wins & losses are part of life. I am sure she will come back stronger. Take a bow champ! You have made the nation proud at the Tokyo Olympics.”
A wave of excitement has gripped Assam in the past few days and people of all ages in cities and villages witnessed her semifinal match, including at Guwahati’s famous Nehru Stadium on the big screen.
Prayers were offered for Lovlina’s success, with people cutting across religious lines going to various temples, mosques and churches across the state.
Assam Assembly, led by Speaker Biswajit Daimary, adjourned Wednesday’s session for 30 minutes to allow the ministers, MLAs and officials to watch Lovlina’s match with great enthusiasm.
Accompanied by hundreds of Assamese and people from various other communities, Tiken Borgohain, Lovlina’s father, said that her daughter fought brilliantly against the world’s number one Busenaz Surmeneli.
“I, along with the other people of Assam, strongly believe she will be able to succeed in the next Olympics in 2024 and 2028. We are all proud of her,” Tiken Borgohain, a small-time businessman in Baromukhia, a remote village in Golaghat district, told the media immediately after her daughter’s match.
He said that Lovlina gave her Arjuna Award (2020) prize money for the treatment of her mother’s kidney ailment and was always concerned about her mother’s (Mamoni Borgohain) health.
Interestingly, Lovlina, who won a bronze medal at the 2018 and 2019 World Championships, had originally started her career as a Muay Thai practitioner.
“When she met her first coach Padum Boro (probably in 2016), her life took a distinct turn. Boro who worked at the Sports Authority of India’s Shillong and Dimapur centres familiarised Lovlina to boxing and since then there has been no looking back for her,” the proud father said.
Tiken Borgohain said that Lovlina is the youngest of his three daughters with the eldest being posted at the BSF training centre in West Bengal’s Siliguri, while the other daughter is working with the CISF at Jodhpur Airport in Rajasthan.
Lovlina had tested positive for Covid-19 last year and missed a training trip to Europe because of the disease.
“I remained mostly away from home for my petty business. My wife (Mamoni Borgohain) always stays with them and takes care of their careers. It was their mother’s idea that they should learn martial arts for self-defence. That’s how it began for Lovlina to be a boxer,” he said.
“Lovlina is always practical and proactive and determined to do something. Many years back she wanted to have a swimming pool. How could we make that? Consequently, Lovlina and her sisters dug a small pond. Even now when she comes home, she swims in it,” Borgohain recalled.
Sarupathar MLA Biswajit Phukan proposed and persuaded the state government to set up a sports academy in the pugilist’s name in Golaghat district.
Phukan said that the Public Works Department has been working round-the-clock to build a 3.5-km stretch of motorable road from Borpathar to Lovlina’s native village Baromukhia and he personally supervised the ongoing works.
Lovlina is the third (second from northeast region) Indian athlete at the Tokyo Olympics after weightlifter Mirabai Chanu (Manipur) and shuttler PV Sindhu (Telangana) to clinch a medal — a bronze — after she lost her welterweight semifinal bout on Wednesday.
President Ramnath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Youth Affairs and Sports, Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur and Chief Ministers of all northeastern states congratulated Lovlina Borgohain for her feat.