Shuttler PV Sindhu and boxer Lovlina Borgohain’s wins at the Tokyo Olympics, on Friday, made headlines. The two reached the semi-finals in their respective sports. However, while Lovlina has assured Team India of their first boxing medal at the ongoing Olympic Games, PV Sindhu at the same stage in badminton is yet to book a place on the podium. Here is why. 

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The difference lies in the nature of the tournaments of both games. In boxing, there is no match for third place in boxing. Bronze medals are given to both the players who lose in the semi-finals. This means, even if she loses her semi-final match against reigning world champion Busenaz Surmeneli of Turkey on Wednesday, Lovlina gets a bronze medal. On the basis of this format, boxers Vijender Singh and Mary Kom won bronze at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and London Olympics in 2012 respectively. 

On the other hand, the badminton format requires the losers of both the semi-finals to play another game to determine the second runner-up aka bronze medal winner. PV Sindhu will lock horns with Chinese Taipei’s TY Tai on Saturday. The winner between the two will play for the gold medal in the final. Hence, to win a medal, PV Sindhu will have to win the semi-final game.

Lovlina Borgohain (69kg), an Olympic debutant, upstaged former world champion Nien-Chin Chen of Chinese Taipei to enter the semi-finals.  The 23-year-old Assam boxer prevailed 4-1 to make the last four.

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Borgohain is a two-time world championship bronze medallist and the first female boxer from Assam to qualify for the Games. She displayed tremendous calm in the face of a plucky opponent, who had beaten her in the past.

“She stuck to the plan of counter-attacking and taking advantage of her height. She had tried being aggressive with this girl in the previous bouts and lost. So this time, we told her ‘aap khade raho, usko aane do’,” national coach Mohammed Ali Qamar told PTI.

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Reigning world champion P V Sindhu, who won a silver in the 2016 Rio Olympics, defended brilliantly and rode on her attacking all-round game to outclass the fourth-seeded Yamaguchi 21-13 22-20 in a 56-minute quarterfinal clash at the Musashino Forest Plaza.