After Winning At The Strandja Championships, Boxer Nikhat Zareen Sets Her Sights On The 2020 Olympics
- IWB Post
- April 15, 2019
Riding high on her recent win at the Strandja Boxing Championships, boxer Nikhat Zareen has now set her sights on the 2020 Olympics.
Hailing from Nizamabad, 22-year-old Nikhat started boxing when her dad introduced her to the sport at the age of 12. She rose to popularity when she won the Junior World Championship in 2011 and won a Silver medal at the World Youth Championships in 2014. But an injury to her shoulder prevented her from competing in the nationals till 2017. About her time recuperating, Nikhat says, “I learnt a lot when I was injured. Injuries make a sportsperson strong—mentally and physically. When you are performing, people will take note of it and if you don’t perform you are out of sight. It has made me strong.”
Amongst her list of achievements is her winning gold against Filipino boxer Magno Irish, at the Strandja Boxing Championships that were held earlier this year in Sofia, Bulgaria. About her win, she says, “I got lucky that I even played in Strandja. I had lost to Pinki (Pinki Jangra) in the Senior National finals but then the federation decided to send both finalists in Olympic categories.
I was the second option. Everyone was hoping for a medal from Pinki but it was a great opportunity for me. When I reached the final after three tough rounds I told myself I cannot mess up here. The girl I was meeting in the final had beaten Pinki in the first round. If I had lost, people would have said both of us lost to the same boxer.”
The first opportunity to get selected for the Olympics will be at the World Championships being held in September later this year, in Russia. But the Boxing Federation will hold trials prior to that in July.
Trials for the Asian championships were held recently as well and having to face Pinki was a challenge for her because she’d lost to her in the Nationals. “I took a week’s break, and worked on my weak points, but before the match, I was getting the same feeling like when I lost to her in the Nationals. I felt I will lose again. But this time I had sparred with her in the camp and was better prepared. I went with a strategy and I stuck to it,” she says.
Nikhat competes in the 51kg category and hopes to qualify for the Olympics. Renowned boxer Mary Kom also competes in the 51kg category and facing her might be a challenge for Nikhat. But Nikhat is determined to not let that deter her, she says, “I know that in every competition I have to prove myself, I am not a big name and if I have to play at the Olympics, I have to keep performing. At the moment my focus is the Asian Championships.”