Saturday, July 13, 2024

Asian Games: It was a tough match, says Lovlina after semis win; Preeti happy to get Olympic quota

Indian boxers Lovlina Borgohain and Preeti ended with contrasting fortunes in the Asian Games on Tuesday while the former won her semifinal bout to storm into the final, the latter lost and had to be satisfied with a bronze medal.

However, both of them had one satisfaction, they both booked their respective berths for next year’s Paris Olympic Games.

Lovlina, the reigning World Champion in 75 kg and a bronze medallist in 69 kg at the Tokyo Olympics defeated Thailand’s Baison Maneekon 5-0 on points. Her second win in the competition, not only took Lovlina into the final but also secured her a quota place for Paris 2024.

In contrast, Preeti, who had defeated Jordan’s Salina Alhasanat in the first round and Kazakhstan’s Zhaina Shekerbekova in the quarterfinals, went down to China’s Yuan Chang in the women’s 50-54 kg weight class.

Preeti thus ended her campaign in Hangzhou with a bronze medal, however, she had the satisfaction of bagging her quota place for the Paris Olympics.

Lovlina had to quell a strong fight from Baison Maneekon, who played from the Red corner.

“It was a good match. The second round was difficult but I am so happy to reach the final and get the Olympic quota place,” said Lovlina after the match.

“It was a tough bout. I was holding in too much. I was a little tired and trying to overcome it. So I tried to keep my distance by moving around,” said the 26-year-old Lovlina.

The boxer from Assam said it was an important match and therefore she tried to conserve her energy for the final round.

“This match was important because it was the qualifying match for Paris 2024. In the final round, I got back my strength and was able to give my 200 per cent effort,” she said.

Fighting the Chinese boxer with a partisan crowd backing the local girl was a learning experience for Preeti and said she would gain from the experience and come back stronger in the Paris Olympics.

“It was a good experience, I learned a lot. It will help me for the (Paris) Olympics. This game was a good opportunity to learn new things,” said Preeti after the bout.

She was however happy that she managed to win the quota place for the Paris Olympics.

“It’s a good feeling qualifying for the Olympics. I will bring more heart next year. I will work hard to improve,” said Preeti of her big target for next year — the Olympics.

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