Nikhat Zareen, the reigning world women’s boxing champion and the recently-crowned gold medallist in the Commonwealth Games, says she is a bit disappointed at missing out on the chance of completing what “would have been a terrific hat-trick of gold with the postponement of the Asian Games originally scheduled later this year”.
“With the Asiad being rescheduled to next year, I will try to qualify again and go for the gold there,” Nikhat said.
“Of course, Paris Olympics is the ultimate dream for sure and the journey started when I was preparing for the last Nationals, itself” she said.
“Well, the biggest challenge for me from changing the weight category of 52 kg (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. “And, honestly, also I didn’t have time to really celebrate my World championship gold as I had to go for training to Belfast for CWG and that training helped me a lot,” she said.
“I am a big foodie and I had to sacrifice a lot to weight for the desired category. I missed home-made biryani. So, the first thing I did when I reached home was have sumptuous biryani,” Nikhat said.
“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.
“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 the 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 a relatively small town like Nizamabad, which is not known for world-class facilities, she was sure many girls dreaming big can emulate her by really working hard.
“I feel good when young kids look at me and get inspired by my achievements. For, I myself looked up to the greats like Mohammad Ali and Mary Kom”, she said.
Nikhat said she became stronger mentally after recovering from a shoulder injury. “I knew where I was lacking and worked on those aspects,” she said.
“Dr. Anjum (my elder sister) was the one who really helped me during my lockdown training and maintain my fitness for competition,” Nikhat said. “Training at home without a coach and my family support was the key,” she added.
“Life has changed certainly 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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