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I am ready to clash with Nikhat Zareen for a spot in 50kg boxing at Paris Olympics, says Nitu Ghanghas

Nitu Ghanghas poses for photographs with her gold medal during the medal presentation ceremony at the Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham.

Nitu Ghanghas poses for photographs with her gold medal during the medal presentation ceremony at the Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham. | Photo Credit: PTI

After winning her first major title in the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, Nitu Ghanghas, the 48kg champion boxer, does not mind taking on World champion Nikhat Zareen in case they clash for a 50kg spot in the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Nitu may have to face Nikhat, who won the World title in 52kg and the Commonwealth Games crown in 50kg, in the selection trials for the Olympic qualifiers if the latter sticks to 50kg.

Nitu is driven by her self-belief. “She (Nikhat) is an experienced boxer and I will give my 100 percent. While fighting, I don’t see who is standing in front of me. I focus on my own performance,” Nitu told The Hindu.

“My normal weight stays around 49kg. In order to compete in 50kg, I have to increase my body weight up to 52kg and work on my strength.”

On her Birmingham showing, Nitu said, “Winning the gold medal on my Commonwealth Games debut was special.

“My final bout was tough. My opponent (Demie-Jade Resztan) was a 2019 World championships bronze medallist from the host country. That added to the pressure.”

Nitu said the camp in Belfast prior to the Games was beneficial. “My three bouts were with the boxers from Ireland, Canada and England. I had training bouts with them before the event and it gave me an idea about their game.”

The youngster spoke about her good rapport with chief coach Bhaskar Bhatt since 2017. “When Bhatt Sir tells me something during the training, I quickly understand what he is trying to say.”

The 21-year-old said her father was emotional after her victory. “He said that he felt as if he was boxing inside the ring and standing on the podium instead of me and wearing the medal around his neck.”

Nitu’s dedication helped her overcome odds, including challenges posed by Covid and injuries, and taste success. 

“Since I had injuries in both hands, I did rest and rehab in 2019-2020. There was Covid in 2020-2021 and I did not have training partners. So, I went to the Bhiwani Boxing Club with my father and trained there alone.

“Had I discontinued my training, I would not have been able to perform like this.”

Nitu wants to follow in the footsteps of her idol Mary Kom, whose good words motivate her. “I follow her game. I also want to win more medals for the country,” said Nitu.

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Printable version | Aug 11, 2022 6:40:36 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/i-am-ready-to-clash-with-nikhat-zareen-for-a-spot-in-50kg-boxing-at-paris-olympics-says-nitu-ghanghas/article65757794.ece