At 24, Nikhat Zareen has to be content watching the more illustrious contemporary and six-time world champion Mary Kom compete in the circuit.
By her own confession, it is not an easy proposition as the Hyderabad boxer would have been the automatic choice in the international events in the 51kg category if not for the fact that the seasoned Mary Kom is still around.
“I have no issues in this regard. Age is on my side and I am sure I will get my chances at the highest level soon. Since the BFI is keen to host the Asian championship before the Olympics to give the right kind of exposure to India hopefuls, it is ok,” Nikhat said in a chat with The Hindu . She keeps herself motivated reading the biographies of the legendary Mohammad Ali, watching bouts of great boxers and her own fights to make a critical assessment.
“The fact that I could win a bronze medal in the Istanbul international event this March after a year’s gap because of the pandemic is proof of my ability to come good,” said Nikhat, who had beaten two-time world champion Nazym Kyzaibay of Kazakhstan to enter the semifinals.
Forced to train at home back in the city here, since the SAI centres across India have been closed, Nikhat is gunning for glory in the Commonwealth Games next year.
“My job is to give 100% every time I enter the ring. Definitely, missing the competitive edge of a national camp,” Nikhat said. “I believe my hunger to win is my biggest strength,” said Nikhat who got a job as Junior Manager in Bank of India even as she is still waiting for the cash incentive of ₹60 lakh announced by the State government for winning international medals.