Lovlina seeking to take recent guard after Covid scare

Vinayak Padmadeo

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 17

Lovlina Borgohain is upbeat as she is returning to full training after a gap of six months. These were some trying months for the welterweight boxer who has already booked her berth for the Tokyo Games.

As the Covid-19 pandemic gripped the world, the sport stopped. And when the restrictions were lifted, Lovlina, like many other elite athletes, started to train in the hope of getting to compete. A 15-day training session at the Netaji Subhash National Institute of Sports in Patiala in July gave her some hope of normalcy. However, just as things were getting smooth, disaster struck. Just days before Lovlina was to embark on a two-month training-cum-competition stint with the boxing team to Italy, the 23-year-old returned positive for Covid-19, and her name was struck off. Worse was to follow as she had to be hospitalised before spending 20 days in quarantine.

Though she has been training in Assam all this while, the training camp that is currently on at the Inspire Institute of Sports in Bellary, Karnataka, would be the first time in months when she would get proper training with sparring partners.

“I can’t explain how happy I am. This would be the first time in months when I will get to train with sparring partners,” Lovlina told The Tribune. “I had no physical problem but I was put in a hospital and then into quarantine as per the rules. After I was cleared, I have been doing my drills at home. I did my strength and conditioning and was basically doing shadow boxing,” she added.

Sparring with men

The focus is clearly on sparring as Lovlina will be squaring up with some of the boxers from the men’s group as both chief coach Ali Qamar and high performance director Raffale Bergamasco have come to realise that the lack of sparring options for the 69kg boxer has started to affect her game.

“I did spar with Ashish (Kumar), Gaurav Solanki and Kavinder Bisht in Patiala so it won’t be a new thing for me,” Lovlina explained.

“But I must say, sparring with men throws up a different challenge. They are quick, they punch harder and they are all technically very good. This may work for my guard as well. I have been told that I was lowering my guard while sparring. So I am looking forward to training with them,” she added.

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