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Poise under pressure

Nikhat Zareen

Nikhat Zareen

The 19-year-old Nikhat Zareen is slowly but surely chalking her own course in the women’s boxing ring. She’s the only medallist from Telangana to win gold in the fly weight category.

Emani Chiranjeevi, widely acknowledged for his scientific coaching skills during his long stint in the Sports Authority of India, is now the coach-cum-mentor of Zareen.

Early this year, Zareen was adjudged the ‘best boxer’ at the All India inter-university championship in Jalandhar. She owes her success in the ring to the indefatigable spirit of her father Mohammad Jameel Ahmed who introduced her to the sport when the young girl posed a query – why is that no girl is taking part in the 2002 sports meet.

Quick to spot the talent, SAI recruited her into the Visakhapatnam centre under the tutelage of I. Venkateswara Rao in 2009.

That was just the beginning this gifted boxer was looking for and Zareen never really looked back. For within one year, she was declared ‘best boxer’ in the Erode Nationals.

This second year student of AV College in the city is now training under the watchful guidance of Chiranjeevi and the coach is highly optimistic of a great future for the champion boxer.

“She has the technique and more importantly the guts. She is fearless and that is her biggest strength,” feels the former SAI coach.

Reflecting on her gold in the Assam Nationals, Zareen says she is elated with her performance for the field was very tough. “I was very keen to come up with a noteworthy performance. And, I am glad that it was a golden finish,” she exclaims.

For his part, Chiranjeevi even feels that Zareen can be a sure medal prospect in the 2016 Rio Olympics too. Her ability to stay ahead of the fellow competitors by her sheer class, grit and determination is remarkable,” he pointed out.

It may not out of place here to recall here that as a 15-year-old Zareen won the Junior world women’s boxing gold in Turkey – just two years after taking to the sport.

And, it was the Sports Authority boxing coach Omkar Yadav who first spotted the spark in her when he took her to the PYKA Nationals in Punjab.

What separates Zareen from the rest of the crowd, according to Chiranjeevi, is her excelllented ynt hand-eye coordination and great poise under pressure too.

A smiling Zareen feels it’s now her right to dream about a medal in the 2016 Olympics. She says that five-time world champion Mary Kom is her biggest inspiration.

Interestingly, this wonderful young boxer doesn’t believe that training abroad is a pre-requisite to excel in international events. “Whatever little success I achieved I did so thanks to all Indian coaches who are equally knowledgeable. What is important is how much of efforts you put in over the next few months and that also means always trying to improve by studying the videos of the best of boxers and the likely opponents too,” signs off Zareen.


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Printable version | Jun 25, 2022 10:04:31 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/nikhat-zareenpoise-under-pressure/article7842159.ece