GUWAHATI: When Lovlina was sweating it out at the boxing arena of Tokyo Olympics on Friday morning, her parents back home in Assam were also sweating.
Tiken Borgohain and Mamoni Borgohain were so nervous about their daughter’s quarterfinal match against former world champion Nien-Chin Chen of Chinese Taipei that they did not even want to watch it live and switched the TV set off.
“Usually, boxing matches entail a lot of excitement, so we chose to stay away from watching it live,” Borgohain told The New Indian Express.
The couple was tense and the duo loitered around at home at the nondescript Baro Mukhia village in Upper Assam’s Golaghat district when Lovlina was creating history.
At 5:30 am, Borgohain woke up to a call on his mobile phone. It was his darling daughter on the other side.
“Normally, I wake up at 6 am. She called me at 5:30 am. She said she was going for the match. We blessed her. We said ‘play well’. She was in a hurry and we could speak for barely two minutes,” Lovlina’s father says.
He says a well-wisher had called him up to break the news of Lovlina’s glory. Soon, neighbours started swarming to his house even as his phone kept ringing.
“He (well-wisher) said she stormed into the semifinal by playing very well and congratulated me. I cannot tell you how happy we are. She has got the reward of years of hard work and determination,” Borgohain, a small-time businessman, says.
He adds: “She had always dreamt of taking part at the Olympics and winning a medal. Her dream has come true. It is a moment that she and we will remember for the rest of our lives.”
Borgohain and Baro Mukhia locals are confident the lanky Lovlina will return with a gold medal.
“We were certain about the victory because she had the love and blessings of the people of Assam. They prayed at home and namghars (Vaishnavite prayer centres) for her success,” says Horen Gohain, a family friend.
The region has no sports infrastructure. She started her sporting journey by riding a bicycle for 3-4 km every day, Gogoi says.
“We are all happy. We want her to return with the gold medal,” he adds.
Lovlina’s first coach Padum Chandra Bodo of Sports Authority of India (SAI) in Guwahati was ecstatic.
“We built her at the SAI complex. She grew up in front of us and today, she is an Olympic medalist. I am very happy,” Bodo says.
He believes if Lovlina can continue to play the way she played today, she will win the gold. Back in 2012 during a talent hunt programme, Bodo could see the talent in her.
“She had a good height. After some tests, I could realise she will make a good boxer,” the coach adds.
Congratulating her, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma tweeted: “This is a BIG punch Red heart. You continue to make us proud #LovlinaBorgohain and keep India’s flag high & shining at #TokyoOlympics2020. Well done Clapping hands sign.”