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Rise of Nikhat Zareen; Pleading fair trials to winning golds

By Abdul Gani
Rise of Nikhat Zareen; Pleading fair trials to winning golds
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Guwahati, May 20: Nikhat Zareen has overcome obstacles and challenges to be here winning the gold in the IBA Women's World Boxing Championships.

Though the Telangana boxer is 25, she proved her mental toughness both inside and outside the ring over the years.

It was exactly the day – May 21 in 2019, Nikhat was preparing to face her idol – none other than Mary Kom in the semifinal in the second edition of the India Open Boxing in Guwahati.

A young and energetic yet very respectful towards her opponents – Nikhat Zareen was confident.

"I'm not going to give less than 100 per cent in the bout. I hope this bout will be the best in the competition," Nikhat had told his reporter. Eventually, she lost the bout to Mary.

There was misunderstanding regarding a statement made by Nikhat and Mary came out slamming the junior boxer for being disrespectful towards the seniors.

Nikhat remained calm and continued to do what she liked doing.

After a few months, Nikhat had to plead for a "fair trial" against Mary Kom ahead of the Tokyo Olympics after being denied a chance to compete in the trials. She wrote to then union sports minister Kiren Rijiju for a 'fair play'.

"I have been inspired by Mary Kom since I was a teenager. The best way I can do justice to this inspiration was to strive to be as great a boxer as her. And Mary Kom is too big a legend in sport to need to hide from the competition and not actually defend her Olympic qualification," Nikhat had written in her letter to Kiren Rijiju.

After beating her in the trials, Mary Kom said, "Who is Nikhat Zareen?" Many trolled Nikhat for 'challenging' the legend Mary. And to top it, there was no customary handshake at the end and the senior pro also rebuffed an attempted hug from her younger rival, leaving her in tears.

Nikhat kept quiet.

And now in May 2022, she is just the fifth Indian woman to win a gold medal in the world championships. It was also India's first gold medal since Mary Kom won it in 2018.

After continuous hard work and determination to reach her goal, Nikhat welcomed 2022 in a great way. She became the first Indian boxer to win two gold medals at the Strandja Memorial in Bulgaria on the back of some impressive performances, including out-punching the Tokyo Olympics silver medalist in February.

"It was really a well deserving win for Nikhat Zareen. We congratulate her for the victory. Her tireless hard work and determination to reach her goals has paid off. We, at the BFI, are always striving to help our boxers to do well at the global level. I'm sure Indian boxing will reach a new height in the days to come," secretary general of Boxing Federation of India Hemanta Kumar Kalita said.

The other Indian gold medal winners at world championships are – Mary Kom (2002, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2018), Sarita Devi (2006), Jenny RL (2006) and Lekha KC (2006).

Out of 12 participating Indian boxers, eight made it to the quarterfinals in this year's tournament – the joint highest alongside Turkey.

With the addition of three medals in Istanbul, India's overall medal tally has gone up to 39, including 10 gold, eight silver and 21 bronze, in the 12 editions of the prestigious event – third highest after Russia (60) and China (50).

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Rise of Nikhat Zareen; Pleading fair trials to winning golds

Guwahati, May 20: Nikhat Zareen has overcome obstacles and challenges to be here winning the gold in the IBA Women's World Boxing Championships.

Though the Telangana boxer is 25, she proved her mental toughness both inside and outside the ring over the years.

It was exactly the day – May 21 in 2019, Nikhat was preparing to face her idol – none other than Mary Kom in the semifinal in the second edition of the India Open Boxing in Guwahati.

A young and energetic yet very respectful towards her opponents – Nikhat Zareen was confident.

"I'm not going to give less than 100 per cent in the bout. I hope this bout will be the best in the competition," Nikhat had told his reporter. Eventually, she lost the bout to Mary.

There was misunderstanding regarding a statement made by Nikhat and Mary came out slamming the junior boxer for being disrespectful towards the seniors.

Nikhat remained calm and continued to do what she liked doing.

After a few months, Nikhat had to plead for a "fair trial" against Mary Kom ahead of the Tokyo Olympics after being denied a chance to compete in the trials. She wrote to then union sports minister Kiren Rijiju for a 'fair play'.

"I have been inspired by Mary Kom since I was a teenager. The best way I can do justice to this inspiration was to strive to be as great a boxer as her. And Mary Kom is too big a legend in sport to need to hide from the competition and not actually defend her Olympic qualification," Nikhat had written in her letter to Kiren Rijiju.

After beating her in the trials, Mary Kom said, "Who is Nikhat Zareen?" Many trolled Nikhat for 'challenging' the legend Mary. And to top it, there was no customary handshake at the end and the senior pro also rebuffed an attempted hug from her younger rival, leaving her in tears.

Nikhat kept quiet.

And now in May 2022, she is just the fifth Indian woman to win a gold medal in the world championships. It was also India's first gold medal since Mary Kom won it in 2018.

After continuous hard work and determination to reach her goal, Nikhat welcomed 2022 in a great way. She became the first Indian boxer to win two gold medals at the Strandja Memorial in Bulgaria on the back of some impressive performances, including out-punching the Tokyo Olympics silver medalist in February.

"It was really a well deserving win for Nikhat Zareen. We congratulate her for the victory. Her tireless hard work and determination to reach her goals has paid off. We, at the BFI, are always striving to help our boxers to do well at the global level. I'm sure Indian boxing will reach a new height in the days to come," secretary general of Boxing Federation of India Hemanta Kumar Kalita said.

The other Indian gold medal winners at world championships are – Mary Kom (2002, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2018), Sarita Devi (2006), Jenny RL (2006) and Lekha KC (2006).

Out of 12 participating Indian boxers, eight made it to the quarterfinals in this year's tournament – the joint highest alongside Turkey.

With the addition of three medals in Istanbul, India's overall medal tally has gone up to 39, including 10 gold, eight silver and 21 bronze, in the 12 editions of the prestigious event – third highest after Russia (60) and China (50).

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