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I took up boxing because society thought women were not strong enough to box: Nikhat Zareen

Boxer Nikhat Zareen

Boxer Nikhat Zareen | Photo Credit: Murali Kumar K.

Nikhat Zareen is a winner. Since 2010, when she was just 14 years old, success has chased and caught up with her. Her victories at various youth and senior boxing championships in the past decade came to a head in May this year when she won gold (52kg flyweight) at the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships in Istanbul.

On Tuesday, she was in the city for the opening of a new adidas store. After rounds of photo ops and a walkthrough of the store, a smiling Zareen, whose face still displays a hardened and steely look, reflective of a resolve that is an essential part of her character, says, “[When I was young], I used to see a lot of girls in other sports, but not in boxing.”

“So I asked my father why was it that boxing was only for boys? He said that society thinks women are not strong enough for this sport. That is what challenged me to take up boxing.”

High expectations at Commonwealth Games

When asked about the possibility of raised expectations for the upcoming Commonwealth Games, she says, “The expectation will definitely be there, but I won’t take that pressure upon myself. I will work twice as hard and give my 100%.”

Zareen sees familial support as a crucial part of any young athlete’s development.

“Support from the family is very important. Especially in my setting, because not many women went out. [So], I am blessed to have parents who are so supportive. I can only request those parents whose kids want to achieve their dreams and play sport to support them. Support them, and definitely they will make you proud one day.”

About plans to take up professional boxing (Zareen is still an amateur boxer), she is still undecided. “I haven’t thought about it. My ultimate dream is to win an Olympic medal. After that, we will see.”

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Printable version | Jun 29, 2022 7:17:15 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/took-up-boxing-society-thought-women-not-strong-enough-box-nikhat-zareen/article65579069.ece