Olympic bronze medallist Lovlina Borgohain made a heartfelt plea on Twitter, calling for the “continuous harassment” of her coaches to end as it was affecting her preparations for the Commonwealth Games. A day later, her coach Sandhya Gurung received accreditation for the Games and was allowed to enter the Commonwealth Games Village in Birmingham.
“Coach Sandhya Gurung has received her accreditation and room at the Games Village in Birmingham,” said the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) in a statement.
Gurung, who is also Indian team’s assistant coach, had been added to the Indian contingent just days before the event. When she arrived at Birmingham on Sunday, she was not allowed to enter the Village as she did not have accreditation, thereby triggering the controversy.
The Tokyo Olympics medallist Borgohain accused the BFI of mentally harassing her, with one of her coaches being denied entry to the Commonwealth Games Village while another one had been sent home.
Lovlina became only the third Indian boxer to win an Olympic medal when she won the women’s 69 kg bronze medal at Tokyo 2020, after Vijender Singh (bronze at Beijing 2008) and Mary Kom (bronze at London 2012).
Taking to Twitter, Lovlina wrote that the politics in the federation was affecting her performance. She called for politics to be kept aside and let her focus on winning a medal for India.
In a long post on Monday, Borgohain said she was feeling mentally harassed because it was a struggle to get her coach added to the squad.
“Today with a lot of grief, I want to tell everyone about the continuous harassment going on with me. The coaches who helped me win an Olympic medal are always being side-lined which has severely impacted my training schedule,” Borgohain wrote.
Borgohain credits Gurung for pulling her out of a difficult mental place before Tokyo 2020. Gurung was with Borgohain during the 15-day training camp in Ireland ahead of the Commonwealth Games.
Following Borgohain’s intervention, the Indian Olympic Association requested the Birmingham Commonwealth Games Organising Committee (BCGOC) to provide accreditation to the coach.
The BFI justified its initial exclusion of the coach in a statement that, as per its rules, support staff should number less than 33 percent of the playing contingent. Since the Indian team has 12 boxers (8 men and 4 women), this meant there could only be 4 support staff, including travelling coaches.
However, this number has now been increased following Borgohain’s plea on Twitter.
“With IOA’s help, the number of support staff went up from 4 to 8 for the entire contingent of 12 boxers”, announced the BFI.