Lovlina Borgohain finished her Tokyo Olympics campaign with a bronze after losing in the semifinals to reigning World Champion and top seed Busenaz Surmeneli in the women’s welterweight division on Wednesday. Lovlina becomes the third Indian boxer to win an Olympic medal, after Vijender Singh (men’s middleweight bronze, Beijing 2008) and MC Mary Kom (women’s flyweight bronze, London 2012)
This is India’s second bronze at this Olympics after PV Sindhu also won a bronze in badminton. India’s only other medal at this Olympics came in the form of weightlifter Mirabai Chanu’s silver in the 49kg division.
Lovlina, currently the World No. 3, had earlier beaten World No. 2 Chen Nien-Chin of Chinese Taipei 4-1 in the quarterfinals to ensure herself of a medal. Turkey’s Surmeneli had won both her previous matches at this Olympics by unanimous decision and she won this match in similar fashion too.
Lovlina had defeated highly-accomplished opponents in her two previous rounds. Chen was a former world champion, while round of 16 opponent Nadine Apetz is also a two-time medalist at the Worlds, winning bronze in 2016 and 2018.
Hailing from the Golaghat district of Assam, Lovlina started as a kickboxer (like her elder twin sisters Licha and Lima Borgohain), before switching to boxing in 2012. She burst into the spotlight after winning bronze at the 2017 Asian Championships and gold at the 2018 India Open.
Lovlina backed up her bronze at the 2018 World Championships with another bronze at the 2019 edition of the tournament.
How did she qualify for Tokyo?
Lovlina secured her Olympic quota, becoming the first woman from Assam to qualify for the Olympics, by entering the semifinals of the Asia & Oceania Boxing Olympic Qualification Tournament in March 2020. She won bronze after losing in the semifinals to 2018 World silver medallist Gu Hong of China.
“The priority for us was to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. Once I did that, I probably let myself relax a bit, which is why I lost in the semis,” she told the Olympic channel at the time.
How was her form coming into Tokyo?
Borgohain tested positive for COVID-19 in October 2020, and missed the Indian contingent’s boxing trip to Italy in November.
In 2021, Borgohain participated in the Boxam International boxing tournament in Spain, where she lost 0-5 to Russia’s Saadat Dalgatova in the quarterfinals.
At this year’s Asian Boxing Championships, shifted from New Delhi to Dubai due to the pandemic, from May 24-31, Lovlina won bronze.