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I hope to continue Mary Kom’s rich legacy, says Nikhat

Parveen Sultana and Mohammad Jameel Ahmed with their daughter Nikhat’s women’s World championship gold medal in Hyderabad.

Parveen Sultana and Mohammad Jameel Ahmed with their daughter Nikhat’s women’s World championship gold medal in Hyderabad. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

“It will be impossible to break six-time World champion Mary Kom’s record. But, I am determined to change the colour of the medal she won (bronze) in the Olympics,” said newly-crowned World women’s boxing champion Nikhat Zareen.

In an exclusive interview with The Hindu before leaving for the National camp on Sunday, ahead of next month’s Commonwealth Games, the 25-year-old Nikhat felt it was impossible to break Mary Kom’s record. “I don’t think I can compete that long in the circuit,” she said.

“I am glad I could win a World championship gold in Mary Kom’s category (52kg) and I hope continue her rich legacy in women’s boxing,” Nikhat added.

"Honestly, the feeling of being a World champion is done and dusted. Now, My immediate target is the Commonwealth Games (CWG) gold," said Nikhat, who cut a cake on Sunday to celebrate Father’s Day as a gesture to remind the immense contribution of her dad Mohammed Jameel Ahmed.

"Every day is Father's Day for me. Such is his influence, inspiration and motivation, which is backed by so many sacrifices.

"Entering the recent CWG selection trials as a World champion was a different feeling. There was the pressure of expectation and I am glad to have won all three bouts unanimously and book my spot," Nikhat said.

“Now, there is a big change in my attitude and approach to the sport after winning the World title. I am more confident, have a lot of clarity on what lies ahead and how to handle different kinds of pressure. I now have a better idea of my strengths and weaknesses and work accordingly. People have started appreciating my achievements.”

Nikhat said, "I want to focus on the 50kg category because it is easier to lose weight than gain it by competing in the 54kg class. And, it will be my weight category for the Paris Olympics too. This way, I can ensure the desired strength and speed," Nikhat said.

"Frankly, I never thought I would be a World champion. I was chasing this dream after winning the junior World's tie in 2011. It feels great to be one now and it is a result of lot of hard work, ups and downs, and many sacrifices by my parents and family members and coaches.

“After a long gap, I spent happy time with my family at home, had my favourite food Biryani and other spicy items before the serious business of training in the National camp begins on Monday,” Nikhat concluded.

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Printable version | Aug 7, 2022 7:39:28 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/i-hope-to-continue-mary-koms-rich-legacy-says-nikhat/article65542764.ece