India at Tokyo Olympics: ‘Lovlina Borgohain was inspired by Mary Kom, joined boxing for self-defence,’ says extremely proud father

India at Tokyo Olympics: 'Lovlina Borgohain was inspired by Mary Kom, joined boxing for self-defence,' says extremely proud father

India at Tokyo Olympics: India’s boxing legend Mary Kom has inspired a generation with her bronze medal at the London Olympics and Lovlina Borgohain is one of them. The Assamese girl has ensured India its second medal at the Tokyo Olympics after Mirabai Chanu in weightlifting and the boxer’s father revealed how she drew inspiration from Kom in an exclusive chat with InsideSport.

Every punch Mary Kom threw at the London rings, Lovlina Borgohain watch them closely as a 14-year-old teenager and set herself a target, an Olympic medal once she grows up. Nine years later, Lovlina Borgohain has ensured a podium finish after a thrilling 4-1 win over NC Chen of Chinese Taipei in the quarterfinals on Friday. Lovlina Borgohain is only the third boxer to win an Olympic medal for India, after Vijender Singh in 2008 and her idol Mary Kom in 2012.

“Lovlina looked to Mary Kom as an inspiration. Kom also had warmth towards Lovlina and both practised together. Both used to attend parties together at Kom’s house in Delhi. Both had a very good relation, and Lovlina had come to think of Mary Kom as a sister,” Tiken Borgohain, Lovlina’s father told InsideSport in a telephonic conversation on Friday.

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India at Tokyo Olympics: ‘Lovlina looked up to Mary Kom,’ reveals father 

Lovlina Borgohain assurance for a medal comes a day after Mary Kom was eliminated by Colombia’s Ingrit Valencia. Lovlina and Mary Kom both who hail from the North-Eastern states, share a great deal of affinity for each other.

“I am very happy that she (Lovlina) has assured a medal. She now has the semi-finals ahead, and I have faith that she will put in a good performance and get an easy win, and progress to the finals,” he said.

While it is a win for Lovlina and India, it is a win for Assam too which has stayed in the shadows of Manipur in sporting achievements for a long time. Tiken Borgohain said it was the prayers of the people of Assam that helped her succeed. 

“Her aim was to play in the Olympics and now she has guaranteed a finish on the podium. I would like to thank all the people of Assam because everyone has prayed for Lovlina’s success at the Olympics. He revealed that people gathered in numbers light a lamp, while also held cycle and bike rallies in support of her. All this support and prayers have led to Lovlina winning the medal.”

When asked whether he was sure she would win a medal, he said, “We couldn’t say for sure if she would win a medal, because it is a sport, and anything can happen on a given day. We had high hopes for her, and even Lovlina had the confidence that she would definitely return with a medal. “

India at Tokyo Olympics: Lovlina’s father on setback due to Covid-19 and lockdown

However, it wasn’t a rosy journey especially during the lockdown due to Covid-19. The lockdown meant that preparations for the Olympics were severely hit, and Lovlina was no different. Things got worse for her, as he contracted COVID-19, but recovered well to return to top shape ahead of the Olympics. On the difficulties faced during the lockdown.

Tiken Borgohain added, “When the first lockdown was imposed, Lovlina returned home from Delhi in March. She stayed here for the next five-six months but continued her training. She couldn’t train here properly and then returned in October to Delhi but contracted Covid-19 and had to be isolated. She then slowly regained her fitness and currency is in her top shape and is playing well.

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India at Tokyo Olympics: Tiken Boorghain preaches equality after Lovlina’s triumph

Tiken Borgohain and his family have had humble beginnings, and he trained his three daughters in martial arts for self-defence. When they grew and took it up professionally, Boroghain had no qualms as he believes in today’s world, there is no discrimination to be made between boys and girls.

He said, “I don’t have sons in my family, I have three daughters and I enrolled them into martial arts for self-defence and self-protection. Lovlina wanted to play boxing and had a real interest in it. In today’s world, there is no discrimination to be made between boys and girls. What boys can do, girls can equally match them and I think there should be no difference between the two genders. Every guardian should encourage their children, especially females to take steps forward and give them the opportunity to make a name for themselves, the family and the country.”