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Rediff.com  » Sports » Winning Worlds in Olympic category was huge: Lovlina

Winning Worlds in Olympic category was huge: Lovlina

Source: PTI
April 23, 2024 19:45 IST
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Photograph: Jason Cairnduff/Reuters

Lovlina Borgohain is aware that fierce competition awaits her at the Paris Olympics but the ace Indian boxer is quietly confident of snaring a second successive Games medal, having found considerable success in her new category, which is also closer to her natural body weight.

Following her bronze medal-winning feat at the Tokyo Olympics, Borgohain endured a tumultuous period when she made early exits from the World Championships and Commonwealth Games.

 

She eventually moved up to 75kg as her original 69kg category was scrapped from the Paris program.

Since then, the ace Indian boxer has claimed gold at the 2022 Asian Championship and the 2023 World Championships, along with a silver medal at the Asian Games last year.

"My performance overall after changing the weight has been good. Winning the World Championship in the Olympic category was huge. I had to control weight before (for 69kg) but now I am set in this weight. I have participated in competitions and done well," Borgohain told PTI in an interview.

One of the reasons for her good run in the higher weight class is that the Assam boxer, who weighs between 70kg to 75kg even out of competition, doesn't have to shed much before a tournament, a painstaking process that may also sometimes lead to loss of strength.

"Yes, the opponents (in 75kg) are strong but I fit well in this category. I am more comfortable in this category than 69kg because I can eat properly, so the energy level is high. I feel stronger and I am able to train better, with strength and conditioning, I can increase muscle and power," she added.

The 75kg category has been on the Olympic roster since the inclusion of women's boxing in the 2012 London Games and the 26-year-old will have her task cut out as she faces boxers who have been plying their trade in the weight class much before her.

"75kg is no doubt challenging because it has always been an Olympic category. 69kg was new but 75kg has been there for years so there are a lot of old, good boxers already competing in it.

"So, that is one challenge. But I am confident because I have had good performances and I feel comfortable in 75kg," Borgohain, who is managed by IOS Sports, said.

While the three-time world medallist is working on her power, she counts agility and speed as one of her strengths.

"I am tall for a 69kg category boxer and I had to control my weight. When I had to control weight I had to stop eating, I didn't feel that strong then. But in 75kg, I feel stronger. The speed which I already had helps."

Having competed in a few marquee tournaments in the 75kg weight class, Borgohain now has a fair idea of the pugilists she will encounter in Paris. She also tweaked her strategy during the recent one-week camp on Turkey.

"I have changed my technique a bit. I can't say what but it has helped me. Earlier I had a more defensive game but now I go ahead and attack," she said.

As the pressure mounts ahead of the Games, Borgohain said she derives strength from praying and meditating.

"I always try to be calm even when I am at ringside. I meditate, do breathing exercises and I pray. That makes me feel strong. I like reading motivational books. If I have a bout in the evening and I read a little in the morning, I feel really good," she added.

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