Lovlina Borgohain walked into the ring with a smile on her face and left with an even bigger one – she had just assured India of its second medal at the Tokyo Olympics. The Indian boxer let out a thunderous roar after the bout, which echoed through the Korugikan Arena here, while her camp jumped in joy. A medal was coming home, it was finally coming home.
The 23-year-old outpunched Chinese Taipei’s Nien-Chin Chen to storm into the semifinal of the 69kg category, where she will face Turkish world champion Busenaz Surmeneli.
She is now the third Indian pugilist after Vijender Singh (bronze at the 2008 Beijing Olympics) and M. C. Mary Kom (bronze at 2012 London Games) to win a medal at the Olympics.
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Lovlina – a good three inches taller than her opponent – was in cruise control as she stamped her authority from the bell and pushed Chen onto the backfoot with an all-out attacking approach. The judges awarded the opening round to the Indian. She was outrightly dominant as all five judges awarded her the second round and she comfortably saw off the third to punch her way into history.
With the bronze medal in the bag, she’s confident of leaving the Japanese capital with the coveted yellow metal. “Bahut bada din hai. Par mujhe gold leke jaana hai. Medal toh zaroori tha. Ab main khul ke khel sakti hun (It’s a very big day for me. But I want to win gold. I needed a medal and I have achieved that now. I can play freely now and go for the gold),” she said.
The win was even sweeter as she finally got the better of Chen after losing the earlier four bouts. “I had lost thrice to her. I used to plan a lot before getting into a bout with her... I know her game, so I was attacking from the get-go. My game is to counter but today I changed my tactics and was on the attack,” she said.
“There was no strategy because if we go in with a plan, then the opponent can catch you off-guard. The plan was to play on the merit of the opponent. I backed myself to handle any situation. I have been working hard for the last eight years and wanted to channel all that effort in the ring today.”