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Nikhat Zareen ” Boxing Champ” | Zareen’s father proud to watch Muslim girls’ joining boxing

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Nikhat Zareen: The Childhood Struggle

It was not at all easy for a 12-year-old girl to excel in her trade in the next 14 years. Her father Jameel Ahmad, who had already said goodbye to his marketing job to encourage her famous boxer daughter, could not even be able to visualize today’s illustration where his daughter Nikhat Zareen would create such a glittering image in Indian boxing with her two latest glorious laurels, gold in IBA World Boxing championship in 2022 and Commonwealth Games gold in Birmingham this year.

While talking over the phone from Hyderabad on Thursday evening Jameel who and his family has already shifted from Visakhapatnam to Nizamabad, revealed,

“Nikhat and we had to face a lot of social obstruction when she was taken outside the home for the sport. The people from our community, mainly our relatives and neighbors became always busy blaming us (me and Zareen’s mother) for inspiring Zareen to play sport. Even during her training in athletics as well as at the local boxing center in Nizamabad later on, the young Nikhat had to often face mockery, boos, and severe criticism from her community people. Their relatives, friends, and neighbors often denounced them, mainly for wearing shorts during the training. But indomitable Jameel, his wife, and Zareen overcame all darkness and finally set her path towards glory.

Nikhat Zareen: The Story Behind Choosing Boxing

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Jameel also described saying,

“Initially Nikhat was also very promising in athletics. She had an impressive performance in state-level athletics championships at that time. The boxing training was held on the same ground and she noticed there was no girl in that training center. That was the key reason Nikhat switched over to boxing from athletics.”

The Star is Born

Image Source- Hindustan Times

Zareen’s shining days did not start only with the senior World boxing title. She first stunned the boxing fraternity in India by clinching gold medals in women’s junior and Youth Boxing titles in 2011 and it was followed by Youth World Boxing and Nation’s Cup international boxing title only after three years in 2014. Then between 2014 and 2022 before clinching the senior World Championship, Zareen achieved a senior national championship, a silver medal in Thailand Open boxing championship, and another gold medal in Stranja Memorial senior boxing championship in Sofia in Bulgaria.

Anxiety over Marriage

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Zareen’s mother Parveen was initially extremely anxious over her husband’s decision to inspire their daughter for boxing. Jameel disclosed,

“My wife Parveen was anxious about Zareen for having joined boxing. Our other three daughters were calm. So we were not much bothered by them. But Zareen was daring and obstinate. Parveen always used to say no one would marry her once Zareen gets injured and it can happen any time in boxing. This was the key reason behind Nikhat’s anxiety. Parveen’s anxiety came true. In the local training center, there was no girl student. Naturally, young Nikhat had to practice with the boys and one evening she got a blow on her nose. It was bruised.”

Nikhat Zareen: Indomitable Strength

Once during the training, Zareen was blown by her opponent boy and that was the day Zareen started developing her mental strength immensely. Every time during the training Nikhat lost to an opponent, she almost took the oath of taking revenge by defeating her opponent, and gradually she succeeded in taking revenge. She then was admitted to Dronacharya awardee boxing coach I.V Rao’s boxing center at Sports Authority of Visakhapatnam at the age of 12 years only. The 61-year-old I.V Rao still remembers Zareen’s fighting mentality. Talking over the phone from Visakhapatnam Rao recalled,

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“Zareen was different from others. Here also she used to train with the boys and despite losing bouts to any of the boys during the training Zareen fought back the very next day and often defeated that particular boy who won against her. Zareen has outstanding mental strength, dedication, and aggression on the ring.”

 

Elated Coaches and Mary Kom

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The Dronacharya awardee coach asserted,

“I was also the trainer of Mary Kom in the national camp in early 2000. After having looked after Nikhat for more than 10 years, I found she also possesses the same qualities Mary had. Nikhat has also tremendous mental strength, indomitable courage, and aggression in the ring, and more all less the hunger to improve. I believe all these qualities will guide Nikhat to more success.”

Rao also believes that if Nikhat can keep up these qualities consistently, she has even potential to surpass Mary Kom’s achievement within 10 years.

Mary Kom has been Nikhat’s idol for a long time. She has expressed gratitude for Mary’s advice and blessings several times she had met Mary in the national camps previously. The current national coach for the women boxers’, Bhaskar Bhatt also sounded deeply moved by Zareen’s devotion. Talking over the phone Rohtak Bhatt commented,

“Zareen has similar hunger as Mary had. She trains for almost 5-6 hours every day. She will earn more laurels in the near future.”

Nikhat Zareen’s Inspiration- Mohammad Ali

Zareen has the habit of reading and watching legendary Mohammad Ali’s books and videos to inspire her. She developed it after losing to Mary in the trials for the Tokyo Olympics. However, she was not available on the phone due to business. But her father informed Zareen, who has been offered the job of DSP by the state government after her gold medal in the Commonwealth Games, has built up a team of personal coach Emanir Chiranjibi, a psychologist for motivation, and a dietitian. Zareen works with the team when she trains at the Gachibowli sports complex in Hyderabad.

The Big Achievement

The scenario that was extremely painful in Zareen’s childhood has completely changed. Now, inspired by Zareen’s success girls from the Muslim community are coming to play boxing and the neighbors, friends, and relatives who were extremely critical of Zareen’s dresses during her boxing training, have also accepted and they have also been sending their daughters and sisters to boxing. Jameel revealed,

“There are around 15 boxing training centers in Hyderabad. Today most of the boxing centers have maximum students from our community! I feel so proud to watch that the girl boxers who have been learning the game in different training centers in Hyderabad are mostly from Muslim families. I can say, it has been another very important feather in Zareen’s crowning glory.”

The Mission

Zareen now will be busy competing for another medal in the forthcoming Asian Championship to be held in Jordan in November. After returning from Jordan Nikhat will resume training under her current personal coach. After having Commonwealth Games gold in Birmingham, Nikhat called up her boxing guru I.V. Rao. The veteran coach said,

“Nikhat said that she has set only one mission now. That is to achieve a gold medal in the Paris Olympics in 2024.” 


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