TOKYO: After having confirmed a medal for herself at the Tokyo Olympics, Lovlina Borgohain (69kg) had declared she was not going to stop there.
Lovlina, who had endured difficult times coming into the Games to make headlines, had her eye on the big prize — the much-coveted gold medal.
“I don’t want to stop at bronze, I want to go for gold,” the 23-year-old from Assam had said during a virtual interaction after her quarterfinal bout.
So when she entered the ring for her much-anticipated semifinal bout on Wednesday, it was her chance to live her dreams.
However, she was up against a boxer of different class.
Turkey’s Busenaz Surmeneli has dreams of her own and the reigning world champ was always the favourite going into the bout.
Even though Lovlina had a decent start, fending off her much-stronger rival, Busenaz gradually found her rhythm and started asserting herself in the contest.
With some strong combination punches towards the end of the round — Lovlina was subjected to standing count (with safety in mind, referees takes call to check if the boxer is alright), Busenaz had done more than enough to be in front.
With just six minutes left to play, Lovlina needed a strong comeback. But Busenaz kept up the intensity level and continued to land some heavy combination punches.
Lovlina, to her credit, continued to display courage but it was clear, she was on the backfoot. And with her rival stealing points, taking away her golden dreams, punch by punch, she seemed frustrated.
That was evident when she punched Busenaz on the back of her head after the referee had instructed the duo to stop. A point was deducted from her tally for that action.
In the third and final round, there was only one route to final for Lovlina. She had to stop her opponent, which is an improbable task.
Instead, it seemed like it was Busenaz who wanted to stop the contest early.
With her deadly hooks and pinpoint punches, Busenaz toyed with the Indian and continued to make life difficult for her until the end. Busenaz’s dominance reflected on the score (5-0).
“I want to dedicate this medal to everyone in the country. A lot of people prayed for me. My aim was to win a gold medal for the country but I couldn’t realize my dreams. But I’m happy to clinch a medal for the country,” Lovlina said.
“I want to thank to everyone who helped me in my journey so far, all my coaches. Because of my coaches, I could do well in training and perform. I also want to thank BFI and SAI,” she added.