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Lovlina Borgohain Issue: Punches Before The Bout At Commonwealth Games

Lovlina Borgohain Issue: Punches Before The Bout At Commonwealth Games

Lovlina Borgohain’s anguish is understandable. But she must have known that her personal coach had limited access. So she could have raised the issue beforehand.

Lovlina Borgohain starts her campaign on Saturday with a round of 16 clash against Ariane Nicholson
Lovlina Borgohain starts her campaign on Saturday with a round of 16 clash against Ariane Nicholson File Photo

All is well that ends with a room key and an accreditation. And for now, Lovlina Borgohain’s issue is resolved. The welterweight boxer’s personal coach Sandhya Gurung has made it to the Birmingham Commonwealth Games after Borgohain kicked up a fuss on Twitter. (More Sports News)

It was an avoidable episode right at the start of the Commonwealth Games. Indian sport thus continued its unholy tradition of beginning a campaign on an inauspicious note.

Heart of the matter

On Monday, the Tokyo Olympic bronze medallist went on Twitter and claimed that her preparation was getting affected due to the "harassment" she faced in getting her coaches, chiefly Gurung, to be with her during important campaigns. Gurung’s accreditation was not ready when she reached Birmingham. Borgohain, anxious to start training, couldn’t keep quiet anymore and aired her grievance on social media.

The Sports Ministry swung into action, asking the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to do the needful to help India's medal prospect. The 24-year-old Borgohain is competing in the 70kg category in Birmingham.

What was the difficulty in including Gurung?

The Boxing Federation of India (BFI) said that as per guidelines for multi-sport events, the support staff should be less than 33 percent of the athlete count. India has 12 boxers in the contingent (eight men and four women). That means India could only be allowed four support staff. But Borgohain’s tweet set wheels in motion, and as revealed by the IOA, the number was increased to six, then "finally got permission for eight support staff."

"The team doctor's accreditation was changed to P-coach. That means he will have to get a permission letter/pass from the chef de mission every morning to access the Games Village," PTI reported BFI Executive Director Col Arun Malik as saying.

"By changing the accreditation, we kept the number of officials the same inside the camp and the adjustment was done and that's how it benefitted everyone."

Timing of outburst

Borgohain’s anguish is understandable. But she must have known that her personal coach had limited access. So she could have raised the issue beforehand. 

Or, was it "politics", as the boxer mentioned in her tweet? 

"I don't understand how will I focus on the Games amidst all this? My world championships also suffered because of this. I don't want my CWG to be affected due to politics. Hoping I will overcome this politics and win a medal for my country. Jai Hind," she wrote.

Bhaskar Bhatt’s gesture

After the matter was resolved, a relieved Borgohain tweeted her thanks to the various agencies and offices, including sports minister Anurag Thakur, involved in fast-tracking her coach into the village.

She could have also extended her thanks to Bhaskar Bhatt, the women’s boxing head coach who vacated his room at the village for Gurung.

Bhatt told the press, "I have moved to a hotel which is a 10-minute walk from the Village. I volunteered to do it (give up his room) as it's all 'ghar ka mamla' (internal matter) and it's best to sort out such things amongst ourselves."

She could also have mentioned team doctor Karanjit Chib, at whose expense Gurung got accreditation. This means Borgohain will have Gurung's company but the Indian boxers will compete without their team doctor present ringside.

Countdown starts to the first bout

Lovlina starts her campaign on Saturday (July 30) in the women's 70 kg event with a round of 16 clash against Ariane Nicholson of New Zealand. And a win against Nicholson will pit her against Gold Coast silver medallist Rosie Eccles of Wales in the quarterfinals.

Other members of the Indian boxing contingent are - Amit Panghal (men's 52 kg), Mohammed Hussamuddin (men's 57kg) , Shiva Thapa (men's 63.5 kg), Rohit Tokas (men's 67 kg), Sumit Kundu (men's 75 kg), Ashish Kumar (men's 80 kg), Sangeet (men's 91 kg), Sagar Ahlawat (men's +92 kg), Nitu Ghangas (women's 48 kg), Nikhat Zareen (women's 50 kg) and Jaismine Lamboria (women's 60 kg).

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