She was in a daze, her face reddened from the pounding Turkey’s Busenaz Sürmeneli had subjected her to in the 69kg semi-final loss. Lovlina Borgohain rushed past the waiting media, relenting only after coach Raffaele Bergamasco asked her to.
“Mujhe srif bronze hi milta hai, pata nahin kyun. Mujhe gold jitna tha ( I always end up with bronze, I don’t know why. I wanted to win gold),” the 23-year-old said, almost pleading. Her hopes to become the first Indian boxer in an Olympics final had just been dashed by a superior rival.
It took a while for her to switch off from her bout against a powerful rival. She received standing counts in the first and third rounds, lost a point for holding in the second, eventually losing 0-5.
Sürmeneli, world champion and top seed unleashed powerful jabs, straight punches and right hooks. Borgohain, though taller, made the mistake of trying to box from close, her tactic to stick to long range attacks collapsing early.
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She is only the third Indian boxing medallist. Mary Kom and Vijender Singh too won bronze. Borgohain spoke of the sacrifices she and her family had made. “It is not a four-year struggle but 12 years since I started boxing.”
“All these years I have stayed away from my family. I was only obsessed about winning an Olympic gold. I have never eaten junk, always used to be worried if I eat anything then will it affect my fight. I have not travelled anywhere except for tournaments. I want to take a break for some months.”
The boxer from Golaghat, Assam was happy to know a road has been finally built to her village. She thanked Sandhya Gurung, a former boxer from Sikkim who helped a young Borgohain overcome her fear of punches.