A young, spirited girl is chasing her dreams. Ready to reach the pinnacle of success, she is conquering one obstacle after another. Whether it is the danger of a career-threatening injury or fight against preferential treatment, she is showing the resilience that is way beyond her age. We are talking about none other than the talented boxer Nikhat Zareen, who is making us proud with her stellar performances at one tournament after another.
Of course, she still has a long way to go and we can’t wait to see her steal the limelight at international tournaments.
23 (as of 2020)
Boxing (51 kg)
Date of Birth
14 June 1996
Nizamabad District, Telangana
Mohammad Jameel Ahmed and Parveen Sultana
AV College, Hyderabad
Nikhat Zareen Biography
Nikhat Zareen hails from Nizamabad, a city in Telangana some 200 km away from Hyderabad. It was Nikhat’s uncle, Shamshamuddin who introduced her to the world of boxing. Shamshamuddin is a boxing coach. He used to train his sons and Nikhat’s cousin in boxing. Looking at them, Nikhat started developing an interest in boxing. Impressed with her enthusiasm her uncle started coaching her as well. She was 13 then.
However, her mother Praveen Sultana was against her daughter’s wish of taking up boxing.
“Coming from a Muslim family there were apprehensions then. But my father being a sportsman had encouraged me to take up boxing although my mother was a bit worried then. My mother was very serious that I quit boxing. She was so scared as I was sparring with boys then,” she once revealed in an interview. Nonetheless, Nikhat found the strength to take up and prevail in boxing in her father Jameel Ahmed who was highly supportive.
In the initial years, managing studies and boxing tournaments slightly tricky for Nikhat. However, she was lucky to have found a lot of support from her friends. Her classmates would help her with the study notes. Once she cleared her board exams and Nikhat started focussing completely on her boxing career.
Nikhat Zareen announced her arrival in the boxing world in 2010, by winning a gold medal in the national sub-junior meet in Erode at the age of 14. This was just first of the many golds that the youngster would win in years to come.
Women’s Junior and Youth World Boxing Championships
In the year 2011, Nikhat won the gold medal in flyweight at the AIBA Women’s Junior and Youth World Boxing Championship held in Turkey.
Youth World Boxing Championships
She also won a silver medal at the Youth World Boxing Championship in 2014. The event took place in Bulgaria.
Nations Cup International Boxing Tournament
The very same year, she defeated Russian Paltceva Ekaterina in the 51 kg weight category at the Nations Cup International Boxing Tournament to clinch the gold medal. The event took place in Novi Sad.
Senior Woman National Boxing Championship
Nikhat added another gold medal to her medal tally at the 16th Senior Woman National Boxing Championship held in Assam in 2015.
All India Inter-University Boxing Championship
At the annual event held in Jalandhar in 2015, Nikhat Zareen won the ‘best boxer’ award. She completely dominated the final and beat her opponent Ritu 3-0 to win the gold in the 51 kg category.
The biggest problem for any athlete is a sports injury. Nikhat Zareen, who had quite a fascinating run ever since the start of her career, got the shock of her life when she dislocated her right shoulder at the All-India Inter-University Championships and was recommended surgery. For any athlete, surgeries can make or break their career. Plus a shoulder injury is all the riskier for a boxer as all the strength comes from there.
Even after the surgery, rehabilitation is a big process. Coming to terms and showing strength to move on is not easy. Nikhat was just twenty years old when she underwent her shoulder surgery. She was out of action for a year. It was very difficult for her to hear all the negative comments about her never being able to play. But she should exemplary spirit for her age and came out of the dark period with more resilience. And of course, now she is shining even brighter!
Nikhat made a truly golden comeback by winning the gold at the Strandja Memorial boxing tournament in 2019.
Asian Boxing Championship
Riding high on her comeback vigour, Nikhat won the bronze at the Asian Boxing Championships held in Bangkok this year. She had an inspired run at the tournament and though she couldn’t win the yellow metal, the performance has given her tremendous confidence.
“Nikhat is disappointed that she couldn’t win the gold again because she played a really good game. She lost very narrowly in the end and the result could have gone either way. But she will take a lot of heart from the way she has played in this tournament, especially beating Nazym 5-0 is something very special,” Nikhat’s father Mohammad Janeel Ahmed told Hyderabad Times.
23 yr-old @nikhat_zareen is one of India’s best contemporary young boxers.?
??She won a silver?medal at the recently concluded #ThailandOpen.
— SAIMedia (@Media_SAI) August 3, 2019
2019 Junior Nationals
Nikhat won the gold medal at the 2019 Junior Nationals. Furthermore, she was also adjudged as the ‘Best Boxer’ of the tournament.
Nikhat Zareen Mary Kom Controversy
Having impressed at the nationals, Nikhat’s eyes were all set on the trials for the World Championships, which are going to be held in August 2019. She travelled all the way from Hyderabad to New Delhi for the big event. However, on her arrival, Nikhat was left disappointed after she learnt that the BFI had directly chosen Mary Kom for her consistent performances. Nikhat was left distraught.
However, things reached a new low after the same was repeated again when Mary Kom was handed a direct entry to the 2020 Asian Olympic Qualifiers in Wuhan. Direct entry to Olympic Qualifiers only happens after a boxer wins a gold or silver medal at the World Championships. However, Mary Kom had only a bronze to show for at the Worlds. Nikhat was not going to suffer silently this time, even if it meant fighting it out against her idol.
The 23-year-old wrote a letter to the Sports Minister demanding a trial against the 6-time world champion. “All I want is a fair chance. If I’m not given the opportunity to compete what am I training for. Sports is about fair play & I don’t want to lose faith in my country,” she wrote in her letter. Nikhat was rewarded with a trial by the BFI.
The bout that took place on 28th December was a high-tension affair, with an experienced veteran of the game on one side and an energetic youngster out to prove herself on the other side of the ring.
Unfortunately, the bout ended in an anti-climax for Nikhat with the judges ruling 9-1 in Mary’s favour. The embers of the audience, as well as Nikhat’s camp, cried foul at the decision. Mary pulled her head away when Nikhat tried to hug her after the bout. She even lashed out against the youngster later in media interactions.
However, Nikhat was a composed figure, respectfully applauding Mary after the bout even as her father yelled against the decision.
It seemed like Mary might have taken the events before the trial personally. However, it wasn’t the case for Nikhat. “I was fighting against the system, not Mary Kom. We should know where we are lacking and for that, I stood up and raised my voice. I lost the bout but I won hearts on that day and I am happy,” she said of the entire saga.
Well, you certainly won our hearts by saying that, Nikhat!
- Best Boxer, All India Inter-University Boxing Championship, Jalandhar, India, February 2015
- Golden Best Boxer, Erode Nationals, 2010
Nikhat Zareen Family Life
Nikhat’s father Jameel Ahmed is a salesperson in the Gulf. She has three sisters. Coming from an ordinary family without any support, many of Nikhat’s family members and friends were not sure if a career in boxing was the right choice. However, with her consistent performances and spirit, she has proven how special she is.
“Seeing my struggle for the past two years, friends, classmates and even relatives used to wonder why I was ‘wasting’ my time and energy. Many had doubts whether this girl from small-town will ever make it big. But that did not deter me a wee bit because I believed in my abilities. And once I started tasting success, the perception of all those around me changed. Now that I got a world champ tag, everybody is over the moon,” Nikhat was quoted by The Weekend Leader.
Happy birthday to the greatest and strongest woman I know: my dearest mother.
Love you Ammi❤️, and I'm proud to be your daughter? #mybiggestcheerleader #mystrongwoman #bestestmom pic.twitter.com/0cHrJhyeJf
— Nikhat Zareen (@nikhat_zareen) August 3, 2019
Unknown Facts about Nikhat Zareen
- Nikhat was appointed as the official ambassador of her home town Nizamabad, Telangana.
- In 2010, Nikhat won the gold medal as well as the ‘Best Boxer’ award at the Junior Nationals held in Chennai.
- Nikhat idolizes Mohammed Ali and is a big fan of his daughter Laila Ali as well.
— Nikhat Zareen (@nikhat_zareen) January 30, 2020
☞ ︎No matter how bad things are right now.
☞︎ No matter how stuck u feel.
☞︎ I promise u won’t feel this way forever.
☞︎ Keep going.#StayHomeStayFit #FitIndiaMovement #IndiaFightsCorona @Media_SAI @KirenRijiju @BFI_official @FitIndiaOff @IndiaSports pic.twitter.com/HMFei5oMKa
— Nikhat Zareen (@nikhat_zareen) April 3, 2020
????? ??????? ????!? pic.twitter.com/04BseckBZK
— Nikhat Zareen (@nikhat_zareen) March 15, 2020
— Nikhat Zareen (@nikhat_zareen) August 24, 2019
Proud to have won silver medal? at Thailand open 2019 after losing in a hard- fought finals with Asian champion.. Lots to learn! Trust me, I’m only getting better! Will come back fighting even stronger in the upcoming competitions.
Thank you all for your continuous support! ??? pic.twitter.com/9msImHvBFS
— Nikhat Zareen (@nikhat_zareen) July 27, 2019
— Nikhat Zareen (@nikhat_zareen) August 1, 2019
View this post on Instagram
Her hand goes up! Very very proud of your win? @zareennikhat. We love you and you deserve this win. Keep the streak going and you have all our support❤️ ➡️ One year ago she had lost to her in a rough fight. ➡️ One year later i.e now @zareennikhat our humble winner ❤️??. • • "Success takes an investment in time, dedication and sacrifice. This is true education and this is a process" •• #mcm #wcw #fitfam #fitspo #fitness #transformationtuesday #quote #quotes #inspiring #motivation #fitnessquote #youcandoit #justbringit #dreambig #success #staypositive #noexcuses #socialenvy #active #grind #pushpullgrind #focus #dedication #nikhatzareen
— Nikhat Zareen (@nikhat_zareen) July 24, 2019