People have been waiting, criticizing a lot since my Olympic medal: Lovlina Borgohain
July 30, 2021 was a special day in Lovlina Borgohain’s career. It was on this day that the boxer made a name for herself by reaching the semi-finals, securing at least a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
Lovlina had previously won back-to-back bronze medals at the World Boxing Championships in 2018 and 2019 respectively, but this was different. She was not only the third Indian boxer to win an Olympic medal, but also the first ever athlete from Assam to be assured of an Olympic podium.
What followed was something dreamy. Even before she stepped into the boxing ring in Tokyo for her semi-final clash five days after securing a medal, her village in Assam was preparing for a big welcome – by building a brand new motorable road.
Although she lost the semi-final by unanimous decision, Lovlina Borgohain was already a star back home in India.
But any type of fame comes at a cost. Especially in our time when people are so invested in the lives of almost every public figure via social media.
While Lovlina took full advantage of stardom at the start of the Tokyo Olympics, things quickly took a different turn.
The 25-year-old’s performance dipped a bit after the Olympics, including forgettable campaigns at the 2022 Women’s Boxing World Championships and Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, and critics were quick to dagger the neck.
“Life has changed a lot since I won the Olympic medal. Back then, I was nobody. Now people know me and look up to me as a role model. Therefore, they expect a lot more from me,” Lovlina said in a chat. with The Bridge.
“If my model didn’t work well, I would be disappointed too. It’s the same here. Since the Olympic medal, I hadn’t been at my best and so naturally there was a lot of criticism and trolling” , she added. with a small laugh.
“The weight class change affected performance”
Lovlina acknowledges that part of the drop in her performance after the Tokyo Olympics was due to the change she had to make in her weight class to be in contention to compete in the Paris Olympics in 2024.
“The few tournaments I played after the Olympics were at a time when I was training with the weight class change in mind for the Paris Olympics,” said Lovlina, who competes now in the 75 kg division, going from 69 kg to 69 kg. the division in which she won her Olympic medal.
“When you change weight classes, your body goes through a lot of changes. I was somewhere in between the two weight classes and that naturally affected my performance,” Lovlina added.
The Assamese boxer, however, appears to have found her feet in the 75kg division, winning the gold medal at the recently concluded 2022 Asian Boxing Championships in Amman, Jordan.
“It was a very different challenge for me to compete in 75kg. I didn’t know much about my opponents but in the end I managed to come out on top. The Asian level is very difficult for Indian boxers. There are a lot good players (in Asia), so it feels good to overcome this challenge after a drop in form,” said Lovlina.
She also pointed out that participating in the 2022 National Games, which preceded the Asian Championships, gave her much-needed confidence to do well in the increased weight class.
“The National Games was my very first event in 75kg. India has a lot of good boxers in this category and winning gold there gave me a lot of confidence for the Asian Championships,” said- she declared.
Lovlina feels she doesn’t take criticism to heart, and social media trolls are a big reason for her resurgence over the past two months.
“I wouldn’t say that I have completely shut down the media or social media. I just try to take this criticism in a positive way as motivation to do better. If you don’t face such difficulties in life, you don’t wouldn’t grow up. Those things just push me to do better,” the Olympic bronze medalist said.
With the 2023 Women’s World Boxing Championships set to be held in India after five long years, Lovlina has her sights set on the global event for now.
“It’s a big deal for us that the World Championships are in India. The goal is to win that title and then move on to the Asian Games,” Lovlina concluded.