Lovlina Borgohain’s quarter-final match of women’s 69kg against Chinese Taipei’s Nien-Chin Chen was not an early start by any stretch of the imagination. Unlike the Shooting and the Archery qualification events that usually started by 5:00 IST, Borgohain’s bout was at 8:50 IST, and not a time that would force you to skip. Yet, Borgohain’s family did not watch her match, in fact, they don’t want her matches at all when televised.
“We did not watch Lovlina’s game today," said Tiken Borgohain, Lovlina’s father. “Me and my family did not watch the game, we do not watch her games. It gets difficult for us," furthered added Tiken.
Lovlina defeated Chen by a 4-1 split decision in the quarter-final to assure herself a medal in her debut Olympics and India’s second at the Tokyo Games after Mirabai Chanu’s silver in women’s 49kg weightlifting.
Athletes often talk about sleepless nights ahead of their big game, and similar would be the case for most of their family members and close relatives, but not for the Borgohain clan.
“Lovlina called up at around 5 AM . We were sleeping. We blessed her. She promised to get the gold. I believe she will. Today’s match was the crucial one almost the finals as this ensures her a medal. I thank everyone," said Tiken from Borpathar, Assam.
Lovlina will take on Turkey’s Busenaz Surmeneli in the semi-final who is the top seed in the weight category. She had defeated Germany’s Nadine Apetz, a boxer nearly 12 years elder to her, 3-2 to reach the quarterfinals.
Borgohain, a two-time world championship bronze medallist, displayed tremendous calm in the face of a plucky opponent, who had beaten her in the past. She was aggressive to start with, followed it up with a tremendous counter-attacking game, and kept her defence tight in the final three minutes to emerge triumphant.
The youngster, who was laid low by COVID-19 last year and missed a training trip to Europe because of it, let out a huge scream after the referee raised her hand, pent-up emotions finally getting the better of her. India’s previous boxing medals have come through Vijender Singh (2008) and M C Mary Kom (2012). Both of them had won bronze medals and Borgohain would look to better that.