Asian Games: Lovlina Borgohain loses to Li Qian, finishes with silver - Hindustan Times
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Asian Games: Lovlina Borgohain loses to Li Qian, finishes with silver

By, Hangzhou
Oct 04, 2023 08:46 PM IST

The 75kg boxer, who had sealed a Paris Olympics berth with her semi-final win, found her Chinese final opponent too strong, losing on points

Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Lovlina Borgohain ended her Asian Games campaign with a 75kg silver medal after losing to local favourite Li Qian in a packed Hangzhou Gymnasium here on Wednesday. India's Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist in 69kg lost to China's two-time Olympic medallist by a unanimous decision in a bout that underscored Qin's relentless attacking prowess.

Silver medallist Lovlina Borgohain poses for photo during the presentation ceremony of women's 66-75kg category boxing event at the 19th Asian Games(PTI)
Silver medallist Lovlina Borgohain poses for photo during the presentation ceremony of women's 66-75kg category boxing event at the 19th Asian Games(PTI)

Borgohain beat Li in the World Championships semi-final in Delhi earlier this year but the Chinese boxer, seven years older to the 26-year-old Lovlina, had her revenge in style. Cheered on by her tremendous home support, Li entered the arena to a rockstar-like welcome, and by the end of the bout, had owned the stage.

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Twinkle-toed and slippery, Li came firing off the blocks and though Lovlina landed the first blow, a left straight that hit Li flush on the face, she never looked ruffled. Li responded with a flurry of body blows while Lovlina used her height and reach to land some of her own. The killer blow, however, didn't arrive. The first round was a close affair, and while the judges awarded it to Li (3-2), Lovlina showed enough quality to bounce back.

India's three-time World Championships medallist kept her guard down for most of the next round, tempting Li to attack and relying on her reflexes to strike back on the counter. Li accepted the gauntlet and landed a left hook while Lovlina responded with a jab. With nimble footwork, Li slipped in and out of reach at will, punishing Lovlina with stinging crosses. This time, the round went unanimously to the home boxer.

Li began the final round the way she had the first two, going on offence. A combination of left jab and right cross shook Lovlina before Li pulled down the shutters in the final minute to ensure there was no late drama. Lovlina, her long limbs flailing, gamely fought on but the result was a foregone conclusion before referee Mark Anthony Calo-Oy lifted Li's arm to bring the roof down.

"I'm happy I got this medal, but feel a little disappointed because I thought I will win gold. I will try harder next time," Lovlina said. Wednesday's bout, it was a good run by the Indian, who beat Korea's Seong Suyeon and Thailand's Baison Maneekon to enter the final and punch her ticket for the Paris Olympics.

"Things will not always go your way but that is not a problem. I'll keep giving my best," she said.

Parveen Hooda signed off with a bronze medal in 57kg after losing her semi-final bout to two-time world champion Lin Yu Ting of Chinese Taipei. Parveen, 23, has already secured an Olympic berth by virtue of making it to the semis. The 2022 World Championships bronze medallist lost 5-0 to Lin, who used her better reach to land decisive blows.

The Chinese Taipei pugilist lauded Parveen. "Although she’s very young, she was very calm throughout the game, in terms of technique and mentality. She threw a lot of punches. It got a little chaotic. I have watched her bouts and had strategies for this match. I’ve spent quite a lot of time watching her box," Lin said.

Parveen joins world champion Nikhat Zareen (50kg), Preeti Pawar (54kg) and Narender Berwal (+92kg) as the Indian boxers to finish with bronze.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Shantanu Srivastava is an experienced sports journalist who has worked across print and digital media. He covers cricket and Olympic sports.

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