By NJ Thakuria
Guwahati: Assam gets a new sports icon in Lovlina Borgohain, who lost to Turkey's Busenaz Surmeneli at women's welterweight (64-69kg) semi-final match in Tokyo Olympic Games on Wednesday, but still won the hearts of millions. The young pugilist became the first Assamese to win an Olympic medal and the third Indian (after Mary Kom-2012 and Vijender Singh-2008) to win a boxing medal in the Olympic Games.
The 23-year-old boxer, who qualified for Olympic matches for the first time, fought hard in the ring against the world champion but over powered by the Turkish boxer. The top seed athlete won the 2019 world championships in the same category, where Lovlina won the bronze medal. Busenaz bagged a bronze in 2019 European boxing championship.
Hailing from Golaghat locality in eastern Assam, the Arjuna awardee defeated Chinese Taipei’s celebrated boxer Chen Nien-Chin in the quarter finals. Lovlina won the gold medal at first India open international boxing championship held in New Delhi and silver at its second edition held in Guwahati. Lately she won bronzes at 2019 and 2018 AIBA women's world boxing championships.
Even though Lovlina settled for bronze in the Tokyo international sports extravaganza, appreciations erupted across the country. From common sport-enthusiasts to distinguished sports personalities to many chief ministers to a number of central ministers immediately took the digital platforms to congratulate the boxer. President Ram Nath Kovind twitted ‘…with your hard work and dogged determination, you have done the nation proud.’.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi twitted, ‘well fought Lovlina Borgohain! Her success in the boxing ring inspires several Indians. Her tenacity and determination are admirable. Congratulations to her on winning the Bronze. Best wishes for her future endeavours.’
Assam legislative assembly’s ongoing budget session was adjourned for 30 minutes at 11 am to cheer for Lovlina by its honourable members. Following the request of deputy speaker Dr Numal Momin, the assembly speaker Biswajit Daimary agreed to the proposal. Earlier, the State assembly adopted a unanimous resolution wishing for the pugilist in Tokyo.
A lighting program was also organised at Nehru Stadium on Tuesday evening, where State chief minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma, sports minister Bimal Bora, information minister Pijush Hazarika, urban development minister Ashok Singhal, revenue minister Jogen Mohan along with several office bearers of Assam Olympic Association and sports enthusiasts were present.