After winning the gold medal at the Strandja Memorial boxing tournament in Bulgaria earlier this year, Telangana’s young sensation Nikhat Zareen continued her fine stint in the 2019 season, by bagging the bronze medal at the Asian Boxing Championships in Bangkok on April 25. Nikhat, who hails from Nizamabad, registered a huge upset win over former two-time champion Nazym Kyzaibay of Kazakhstan in the 51 kg category to enter the semi-finals, before losing to Vietnam’s Nguyen Thi Tam.
In a freewheeling interview with News Nation, Nikhat Zareen spoke about her idol, goals, and a lot more.
Here are the excerpts of the interview:
Q. Who introduced you into Boxing and when?
A. To be honest with you, no one really introduced me to boxing. Before starting my career in boxing, I was into athletics. I was a runner and 100, 200 meters was my event. I used to go for training in Nizamabad district, where urban games were going on and I noticed something strange, in every sport except boxing there was at least one participant.
It was then, I asked my father, “Why there is no girl in boxing?”. My father instantaneously replied, “Girls don’t have guts to box” and that struck me badly. I have been a stubborn girl, and I decided to prove him wrong.
Q. Can you take us through your journey of Boxing?
A. In my initial days, I used to train with boys as most of the girls didn’t come out so I was mostly with the boys. I had the determination to prove him wrong that even girls can do boxing.
And within one year I was able to play nationals and my semi-final opponent was from Manipur and I had heard a lot about the boxers who used to come from there but I was a determent to prove myself at the supreme level and by god grace, I managed to do that.
Q. Who has been your role model and why?
A. I have always looked up to Mary Kom and she inspires me the most. Being a mother of two children and still managing to set standards makes her look different from the crowd. She has been my all-time inspiration.
Q. Nikhat, who do you think shaped your career?
A. My father. He has always been on my side whatever it may be. Any trials, training, competition, he has always been there and given me that space. I want to give all the credit to him. Also, my mother has played a different role in shaping my career.
Further, my sponsors, BFI, and others have also supported me through thick and thin. So, whatever I am today, is because of all of them.
Q. What is your next target?
A. My next target is India Open and I want to win a gold medal and then, of course, World Championship.
Q. Last question, one advice you would want to give to the upcoming generation who wish to make their career through boxing?
A. My advice will specifically to the girls, people believe that boxing is for boys and it’s time to prove everyone wrong because it's our game too. I want every girl to become strong and independent so they are able to protect themselves if required.
So, “Don’t be dependent on anyone, be independent”.