Olympic bronze medallist in women’s boxing Lovlina Borgohain is confident that her move to a higher weight category will help her break the jinx of not winning a gold in major international tournaments when the IBA Women’s World Championships begins later this month.
Lovlina will be competing in the 75kg category in the championships scheduled to commence here on March 15, while earlier she won two world championships bronze and a third place at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in the 69kg category.
The focus in the prestigious tournament will be as much on India’s ace boxer Nikhat Zareen retaining her gold, as it will on Lovlina breaking the jinx of not clinching the top podium place.
The 25-year-old pugilist from Assam secured third position in both the 2018 and 2019 Women’s World Championships and ended up with another bronze at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, prompting people to say the talented athlete was not giving it her best shot.
But Lovlina denied it, saying she always enters the ring with the single-minded commitment to give it her “100 per cent”.
“Yes, that (not winning gold) is at the back of my mind. But I am desperate to change the colour of the medal this time around. The effort is always to play for gold medal and this time too it is no different. The preparations are going well (in Patiala) and I hope I can break that jinx on home turf,” said Lovlina, who has won all the three top bronze medals in the 69kg category, but will be competing in the upcoming championships in 75kg.
She also added that being a part of the same squad that also has reigning world champion Zareen will not put any added pressure on her to perform and aim for gold.
“I am not thinking in terms of whether the pressure is more or less on me (With Nikhat being a world champion). We have accepted we have to live with pressure; it is always there in competition.
“My focus is only on how well I can perform and concentrate on the task at hand. And that also means, not to take the added pressure of thinking about the result,” added Lovlina, who has started focusing more on packing more power in her punches, given that a higher weight category comes with more powerful opponents.
“At the end of the day what matters is our work ethic. The Gita also says work hard and do not bother about the result. I am a great believer in that.”
The ace boxer said she felt more confident in the higher weight category as she did not have to bother about how many kilos she was gaining.
“I am more comfortable in this (75kg) weight category. There is no tension to control my weight. Yes, I have also changed my technique a bit to go with the higher weight category.
“The focus is on improving the power in my punches as my opponents will be much stronger than what I encountered in the 69kg category,” she said.
India also has a new women’s coach in Dmitry Dmitruk, the former high performance coach of the Irish Athletic Boxing Association and Lovlina said he is “working wholeheartedly” along with national coach Bhaskar Bhatt to ensure she adopts to the new category.
“We have a new coach as well and whatever changes I have brought about in my technique post the Olympic, they are helping me wholeheartedly to adopt to the changes,” said Lovlina.
Despite the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) trying its best to get an Olympic quota status for the championships, the International Boxing Association (IBA) hasn’t yet clarified on the issue, but Lovlina said it won’t dampen her spirits to go all out.
“Olympic or no Olympic quota, we always aim for the top podium finish. So, nothing changes there,” she added.