Tokyo Olympics bronze medallists Lovlina Borgohain who just booked a berth in the Indian contingent for the Commonwealth Games has admitted that the endless functions and other commitments outside the boxing ring affected her training and led to a loss of focus.
There had been numerous felicitation programmes and events just after the arrivals of the medal-winning athletes from Tokyo all across the country.
Lovlina added that she didn’t feel “mentally strong” at the world championships in Istanbul last month.
Competing in her first international event since her podium finish in Tokyo last year, Lovlina‘s world championship campaign in the 70 kg category came to an early end after a disappointing loss in the pre-quarterfinals.
“Main thing was that in the world championship I wasn’t that strong mentally. I wasn’t able to focus properly. I have worked on that,” Lovlina told reporters after sealing a Commonwealth Games berth in the 70kg event.
“My aim was to win gold in Tokyo but I couldn’t. After that, in my mind I kept thinking ‘I have to train and do well in the next competition’. But that didn’t happen,” she added.
Since the Olympics, the 24-year-old had to attend innumerable felicitations and functions but all the attention has come with a price.
“After Tokyo people started expecting a lot. I had to attend several functions also and you can’t say no because they’ll think ‘after winning a medal she’s developed an ego’.
“There are moments when you can’t do anything and you have to miss your training. This affects us. A player should be given space to focus on the game.”
“I didn’t think all of this would affect my performance but somewhere it did.”
This is not the first time an athlete has complained of being burdened with commitments after winning a medal.
Last year, after winning a historic gold medal at the Tokyo Games, javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra had also said his training took a hit as he had to attend numerous functions.
The two-time world boxing championship bronze medallist feels people should be mindful of the athlete’s needs.
“I have to learn at every step, the world championship loss has taught me a lot and somewhere it was important also.
“My training at the world championship was also not proper. I learned a lot from that loss. It was part of my journey.”
With the introduction of new weight categories, Lovlina, who has got most of her success competing in the 69kg weight division, will have to change her category to either 66kg or 75kg.
“I have thought of 75kg but my weight is not increasing much so I will decide after CWG which weight category I have to play in.
“After CWG is the Asian Championship I will decide what to do then. Whatever weight I decide to participate in, I will continue in the Olympics.
“There is confusion because my weight is between 68 and 69. But now I struggle to get below 68 or above it.”