GUWAHATI: The Assam government offered the post of deputy superintendent of police and Rs 1 crore reward to champion boxer Lovlina Borgohain, who promised to return with a gold medal from Paris Olympics in 2024.
The government announced that a road in Guwahati would be named after her and a sports complex would be built at her constituency, Sarupathar, at a cost of Rs 25 crore.
"I seek forgiveness from the people of Assam that I could not return home with a gold medal (from Tokyo Olympics) but I am happy that I got one (bronze) for the country. I promise that I will return with a gold medal from the Paris Olympics," Lovlina said at a felicitation programme organised by the state government on Thursday.
She said she never thought of winning a medal at the Tokyo Olympics but the prayers of people and her belief in God gave her a lot of strength. She said it was a long journey that started from the nondescript Baro Mukhia village in the Golaghat district.
"My aim has always been to brighten the names of Assam and the country. I never broke down during the journey. I was focused on fulfilling my dream. I thank my parents for their support. I could not have achieved this success without their support and struggle," the lanky boxer said.
She said she wanted to share their struggle but could not do so as she was always away from home. She hoped the difficulties that the family faced all these years would now be over. There is no dearth of talents in Assam and the Northeast but what is imperative is encouragement. Boxer MC Mary Kom and weightlifter Mirabai Chanu emerged from this region, she pointed out.
"I want the talents in Assam to bloom. We have a lot of talents in our villages. They must understand they can build a career also through sports. Parents should encourage their children about sports. If we make sports as our career, we can remain happy all throughout our lives," Lovlina said. She was optimistic that more sports centres would come up in the state in the near future.
Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the boxer would be provided with a “scholarship” of Rs 1 lakh every month till the Paris Olympics for her preparations. He also announced Rs 10 lakh each to her four coaches who trained her at different points of time. Sarma said the people of Assam would remember Lovlina for generations to come.
"She will remain an inspiration. She was born in a village, saw poverty, mother's kidney-related ailments and father's struggle. Today, she has made Assam's 3.3 crore people proud. I hope her achievement would lead to the creation of many Lovlinas," the CM said.