Lovlina Borgohain: ‘I’ve to go into competitions as a stronger boxer’

Lovlina, the first Olympic medallist from Assam and the only one from the nine-member Indian boxing squad to taste success in the Japanese capital, is not satisfied with her achievement. She wants to give a better performance and win the gold medal in Paris 2024.

Confident: “One needs to have self-belief and self-confidence to execute things properly,” feels Lovlina.   -  Getty Images

Even as big names fell, 23-year-old Lovlina Borgohain rose to the occasion to bring home the country’s third boxing medal from the Olympics. Thanks to her bronze medal in the women’s 69kg category, boxing secured a podium finish for India in Tokyo after missing it in Rio 2016.

However, Lovlina, the first Olympic medallist from Assam and the only one from the nine-member Indian boxing squad to taste success in the Japanese capital, is not satisfied with her achievement. She wants to give a better performance and win the gold medal in Paris 2024.

The double World championships bronze medallist from Baro Mukhia village of Golaghat district spoke about her game in Tokyo and her aim for Paris in a chat with Sportstar.

How do you sum up your experience in the Olympics?

It’s a mixed feeling. I am not so happy, not so sad. I am happy that I could win a medal for India, but I am not satisfied as my aim was not fulfilled. My goal was to win the gold medal but it could not be achieved. I am a little sad about this. My target is to change this bronze medal into gold in the next Olympics.

Lovlina Borgohain wins boxing bronze at Tokyo Olympics  

What will be your approach for the next Olympics?

I have to start from scratch for the new Olympic cycle. I have to work on every aspect of my game so that I don’t have any shortcomings left before the next Olympics.

My preparation was not very good because of the Covid pandemic. The whole of last year was wasted and there was lockdown. I tested Covid positive. There were a lot of problems. I can’t say that there would not be any problems prior to the next Olympics, but I can say that I would do better even if there were problems.

“I want Assam to produce more athletes so that the State goes forward in sports. If more kids come from villages, it will be good. We have a lot of talent in Assam. More talent can bring more medals for the country.”

How did your preparation get affected?

Covid affected it the most. Nobody knew the protocols and how to train. But I had the self-belief. I did not want to give up and was keen to win a medal in the Olympics.

You have said that you fought fearlessly in the Olympics. Can you elaborate?

In earlier competitions, I used to fear a little before entering the ring. I used to be a little apprehensive thinking what would be the result. In the Olympics, I did not have any such thought. I knew that the whole of India was praying for me. So, I boxed without any fears. If I have to do something, I cannot be living with fear. In order to achieve something big I need to nurture this attitude inside me. One needs to have self-belief and self-confidence to execute things properly.

Lovlina Borgohain: Olympic success a result of fearless approach  

What did you do differently before the Olympics?

Earlier, I used to follow a routine life — food, sleep, etc. In the last four months I ate whatever I felt like. I just kept my mind free without taking any stress. We could not train properly before the Olympics. It was very easy to get stressed out because of that. I just forgot everything and lived my life.

You also stopped doing meditation. Why was that?

I used to do meditation and follow a regimented life. Now I think the ambience during a fight is so loud and chaotic that one needs to know the trick to control the mind during that time. I don’t think if you get up in the morning and do meditation it is going to help in anyway. I am not saying it is bad, but everybody has his or her own way. It may work for somebody and may not work for another person.

You focused a lot on strength and conditioning when the National camp was shut due to Covid. How did it help?

I worked with Amey (Kolekar) Sir on my strength and it helped me a lot. In the last four years I had not worked so much on strength and conditioning which I did in four months. The improvement reflected in my fights. It was very apparent because I beat the girl (Nien-Chin Chen of Chinese Taipei in the quarterfinals) against whom I had lost on four occasions.

Lovlina Borgohain's coaches pleased as a punch  

Do you still need to work on your strength?

Yes, I feel I have to work on my strength and go into competitions as a stronger boxer.

You creditably stood through the semifnal bout despite receiving a lot of blows from World No. 1 Busenaz Surmeneli of Turkey. How could you do it?

I put all my strength into that bout. My preparation was not as good as it should have been because of Covid but I am not giving any excuse. It (the loss) may have been because of that. This will not happen in the next Olympics.

When big names in Indian boxing lost, did it affect your morale?

I did not think about it. Everybody has his/her own game. I had self-belief. I worked so hard for so many years. How could I get mentally disturbed by seeing someone (losing)?

What’s your next plan?

A new (Olympic) cycle will begin. I have to follow a plan. I have to do well in the Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games next year. I have to work on my weak areas. My weight category will remain the same, though.

How will your medal inspire the youngsters in Assam?

Not just my medal but all seven medals India has won will inspire youngsters. Many athletes will emerge and will break this record.

I want Assam to produce more athletes so that the State goes forward in sports. If more kids come from villages, it will be good. We have a lot of talent in Assam. More talent can bring more medals for the country.