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One punch away from an Olympic medal, Lovlina raises a billion hopes

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Boxer Lovlina Borgohain (Image courtesy: Twitter/@LovlinaBorgohai)

Even as the shooting contingent disappointed yet again and the paddlers wrapped up their campaign, not just the Indian men's hockey team but also Lovlina Borgohain gave the Indian fans something to cheer about at the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday.

The 23-year-old Indian boxer beat 35-year-old Nadine Apetz from Germany 3-2 in the women's welter (64-69kg) round of 16 to set up a quarterfinal bout with Taiwanese boxing star Nien-Chin Chen on July 30.  

A win on Friday will assure Lovlina - the first woman boxer from Assam to qualify for Olympics and the only sportsperson from the state in the Indian Olympic contingent at Tokyo - at least a bronze as both losing semi-finalists get a medal at the Games.
 

As she gets ready to test her skills against world's best Chen, regarded as 'boxing queen' in Taiwan, the entire India will be backing Lovlina in her next bout.

Born on 2nd October, 1997 in Assam's Golaghat district, Lovlina, just like her twin sisters Licha and Lima, started off as a kickboxer first. She was introduced to boxing by her first coach Padum Boro who worked at the Sports Authority of India's Shillong and Dimapur centers.

The journey from 2012 to 2018, when she represented India at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, was filled with some exceptional performances, both at home and abroad.  

With medals from the Asian Championships, the India Open and the President’s Cup among others - and two bronze from the World Championships being the jewel in the crown - Lovlina received the Arjuna Award in 2020.

After finding success at some of the most prestigious tournaments, she was also touted as one of Indian boxing's most consistent performers.

Back home, prayers and even bicycle rallies - one of which saw the participation of Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma - are being organised to support and motivate 'Assam's daughter' Lovlina.

"She is Assam's pride for a reason! Congratulations to Lovlina Borgohai on qualifying for quarterfinals (69kg) with 3:2 win. Best wishes! Keep shining," tweeted the CM today.
 

India have won two medals in boxing at the Olympic Games so far with Vijender Singh winning the bronze in 2008 and Mary Kom adding the second bronze to the tally in 2012.

As many as nine Indian pugilists were in the fray to win medals for the country in Tokyo. All hopes now rest on Mary Kom, who on Thursday takes on Colombia's Ingrit Valencia in her next bout, and young Lovlina who will also be backed by millions back home when she steps into the ring next time.

Also Read: On a memorable day for Lakra and Rohidas, Indian men's hockey team bounce back in Tokyo