At 24, Nikhat Zareen has to be content watching the more illustrious contemporary and six-time world champion Mary Kom compete in the circuit.
By her own confession, it is not an easy proposition given the fact that the Hyderabad boxer would have been the automatic choice if Kom, who is one of the biggest medal hopes in Tokyo Olympics, were not
to be in action as both slug it out in the 51 kg category.
“I have no issues in this regard. Age is on my side and I am sure I will get my chances at the highest level soon. Since, the BFI is keen to host the Asian championship before the Olympics to give the right kind of exposure to India hopefuls, it is ok,” Nikhat said in a chat with Sportstar .
She keeps herself motivated reading the biographies of the legendary Mohammad Ali, watching bouts of great boxers and her own fights to make a critical assessment.
“The fact that I could win a bronze medal in the Istanbul international event this March after a year’s gap because of the pandemic is proof of my ability to come good,” said Nikhat, who had beaten two-time world champion Nazym Kyzaibay of Kazakhstan to enter the semifinal.
Forced to train at home back in the City here since the SAI centres across India have been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, a sportive Nikhat is gunning for glory in the Commonwealth Games next year.
“My job is to give 100 per cent every time I enter the ring. Definitely, missing the competitive edge of a national camp,” Nikhat said.
“I believe my hunger to win is my biggest strength,” said Nikhat, who got a job as Junior Manager in Bank of India even as she is still waiting for the cash incentives due from the State Government for winning international medals.
“Yes, the focus is on mental strength and stamina even though it is not the ideal way to prepare at home,” she says. “But, one full month of intensive training is enough for me to peak for any major.”
Thanks to Bank of India, the former world junior champion now has the liberty to worry less on the financial aspect even though she says she is still eagerly awaiting roughly Rs. 60 lakhs cash incentive due from the Telangana State Government for her international medals so far.
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