NikhatZareen the Nizamabad-based boxer had a tough time since last 18 months facing with a career-threatening injury, mentally drained off by everyone. Disappointment of missing out Commonwealth games, Asian Games and the World Championships in 2018 still lingers, but Zareen has channelized her pain into fighting even harder. Zareen to become the first Indian Woman to win a Gold medal at the Stanja Memorial tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria. “When I qualified to compete in this tournament, I knew that I had to grab this chance. This was my opportunity to get noticed and to make a mark and I wanted to make it count. I’m glad it paid off,” says Zareen.
‘In India, people believe in aggression over technique. They tell you that you can’t be a boxer if you don’t have aggression’
NikhatZareen is an achiever
Zareen had qualified for the Strandja Memorial Tournament after shew on the silver medal at the senior Nationals in January, where she lost a close encounter to PinkyJangra in the final. Luckily the top two pugilists from the 51kg category qualified and she earned her trip to Bulgaria. “I lost that final by a split-decision. It could’ve gone either way. The judge told me that I lost because I wasn’t aggressive enough. I wanted to prove them wrong and show them that you can win with good technique, and not pure aggression,” She explained.
“I do try to be aggressive and it’s an aspect that im trying to work on.But in India people tell that you can’t be a good boxer if you’re not aggressive enough. But in international tournaments, they don’t see your aggression, they see your style and technique as well. I won the gold because I had an all-round game, not because I was the most aggressive player in the ring,” Zareen shares proudly.
NikhatZareen started boxing at the age of 12 and was into the Sports Authority of India in Vishakapatnam in 2009 and 2 years later she wen t on to win the gold medal at AIBA Women’s Junior and Would Youth Boxing Championship in Turkey. She went in to win several gold medals before a shoulder injury halted her career in 2017.
Being a fighter Zareen refused to give up and after eighteen months, she returned inside the ring with a bang by becoming the first woman to win a gold medal at Strandja Memorial Tournament. She wants to inspire more people from Telangana to take up boxing.
NikhatZareen is now gearing up for the Asian Games in Bangkok. She is also eager to face her role model Mary Kom at the World. “Mary Kom is my role model. To win medals for the country after having three children is unbelievable. I look forward to face her, as much as I admire her once we’re in the ring I will look to beat her” says Zareen.