Punching Through The Odds: The Inspirational Journey Of Nikhat Zareen

In the present time, there are many parts of our country where people still believe in stereotypes. One of such beliefs is that women are physically weak compared to their male counterparts. Such a notion has been debunked by world champion Nikhat Zareen recently.

Nikhat was the first girl from her district, Nizamabad in telangana to become a boxer. Throughout her journey, her father was her prime support system. He left his job in Saudi Arabia to train his daughter, so that she could fulfill her dreams. 

When Nikhat was a young girl, she saw that there weren’t any women in the boxing ring, when she went to watch the urban games at a stadium with her father. It kept her wondering why only men participated in boxing to which her father said that because of the fear of severe injuries women weren’t encouraged to participate in sports like boxing. However, this reply didn’t make any sense to her and she kept on chasing her dream. 

In one of her interviews she stated that, “I was told a Muslim woman should be in purdah and asked how I could wear short clothes. Thankfully, my father did not let these comments affect him or me. He asked me to focus on boxing and work hard. When I won medals, the same people would come back asking for photos and selfies.”

After overcoming various hurdles on her path, Nikhat won a gold medal at the junior National in 2010 and was selected for the world championships in 2011. Unfortunately, when ultimately it was the time to shine in the senior category, a shoulder injury in 2017 threatened her career, therefore she could not continue her training for a year and because of that she didn’t get a spot in the Tokyo Olympics. However, Nikhat didn’t give up and after a year of break, she again started her training and put all her efforts and hardwork to fulfill her dream. 

Finally, after the culmination of years of hardwork and perseverance she achieved her goal and made her dream come true. Zareen won gold at the World Boxing Championship in the women’s 52 Kg category, Nikhat defeated Jutamas Jitpong of Thailand and she won the match by five points in the finals.

Nikhat made India proud again by winning the gold medal in the World Boxing Championship in May 2022. After CWG, her next target is the Paris Olympics 2024. 

She credits her family for her success and hopes more parents support their children.

“Support from the family is very important. Especially in my setting, because not many women went out. 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 sports to support them…and definitely, they will make you proud one day.

“DEFINE SUCCESS ON YOUR OWN TERMS , ACHIEVE IT BY YOUR OWN RULES , AND BUILD A LIFE YOU’RE PROUD TO LIVE.”

~Shyma Mansur

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