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The Hindu
The Hindu
V. V. Subrahmanyam

Nikhat disappointed at missing chance to complete a rare treble

Nikhat Zareen, the reigning world women’s boxing champion and gold medallist at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, says she is a disappointed at missing out on completing what “would have been a terrific hat-trick of gold” with the postponement of the Asian Games from later this year”.

In an informal chat here on Wednesday, the 26-year-old Nikhat felt given the kind of form she was in, and also the confidence she had after winning two prestigious events, she was confident of repeating a ‘golden’ performance in the Asiad.

“With the Asiad being rescheduled to next year, I will try to qualify again and go for gold there,” Nikhat said. “The Paris Olympics is the ultimate dream and the journey started when I was preparing for the last Nationals” she said.

“The biggest challenge for me from changing the weight category from 52kg (in which she won the Worlds gold) to the 48-50 kg in the CWG was to sacrifice my taste for food,” she said with a big smile. “Honestly, I also didn’t have time to really celebrate my World championship gold as I had to go to Belfast for training for the CWG and that training helped me a lot,” she said.

“I am a big foodie and I had to sacrifice a lot to weigh for the desired category. I missed home-made biryani. So, the first thing I reached home was to have sumptuous biryani,” Nikhat said.

World champion Nikhat Zareen, who clinched the women’s 50kg light flyweight gold at the Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham, in Hyderabad on Wednesday, August 17, 2022. (Source: NAGARA GOPAL)

“I really enjoyed the CWG and was excited about the first edition. I am very happy that I could win the gold,” she said.

“The focus now shifts to the Asian Championship and I will go for the gold there too,” Nikhat said.

On Mary Kom’s legacy, she said after the Worlds there were a lot of expectations from many. “More than theirs, I had my own expectations and lived up to them. I am glad to have won the gold to prove a point or two,” she added.

“Honestly, I never thought I could be a Worlds and CWG gold medallist. I always believed that when you give 100 percent once you enter the ring, throw punches, there will be fewer chances for the opponents to get the better of you,” she said.

Nikhat said having come from the relatively small town like Nizamabad, not known for world-class facilities and achieving these medals, she was sure many girls dreaming big could emulate her by really working hard.

“I feel good when young kids look at me and get inspired by my achievements. I myself looked up to the greats like Mohammad Ali and Mary Kom,” she said.

Looking back at her shoulder injury, Nikhat said after that she had become much stronger mentally which helped her to stay focussed and keep working hard. “I knew where I was lacking and worked on those aspects,” she said.

World champion Nikhat Zareen, who clinched the women’s 50kg light flyweight gold at the Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham, poses with her father Jameel and sister Dr. Anjum in Hyderabad on Wednesday, August 17, 2022. (Source: NAGARA GOPAL)

“Dr. Anjum (her elder sister) was the one who really helped me during my lockdown training (during the pandemic) and maintain my fitness for competition,” Nikhat said. “My family’s support, while training at home without a coach, was the key,” she added.

“Life has certainly changed for the good. There is a lot more recognition and love for me and I am determined to keep improving and take it event by event,” Nikhat signed off.

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