Who is Nikhat Zareen, India's history-making boxer?
- Nikhat Zareen scripted history, winning gold at the Women's World Boxing Championships
- She beat Thailand's Jitpong Jutamas in the 52kg finals
- Zareen is a flyweight boxer from Nizamabad, Telengana
Zareen is a flyweight boxer from Nizamabad, Telangana, and has shown stellar form this year. Her win cements Zareen's spot in an elite list of Indian women boxers to have won the world title, including MC Mary Kom, Sarita Devi, Jenny RL and Lekha C.
She completed her primary education at the Nirmala Hrudaya Girls High School in Nizamabad and is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) at AV College in Hyderabad.
The 25-year-old has a rivalry with Kom, who spars in the same category and is one of the most successful boxers in world championship history.
However, Zareen has been aiming for the stars, and February 2022 saw her become the first Indian woman to get two golds at the Strandja Memorial. Zareen also won bronze at the 2019 Asian Championship and is a former junior world champion.
After the victory that landed her in the final spot, Zareen said, "My strategy today was to not let her play her natural game, and instead, make her adjust to my game. That was the strategy, and I adopted it successfully. I'm now looking forward to returning home with the gold medal".
Zareen's name became popular among fans of the sport when she protested India's decision to cancel the flyweight category selection trials on the morning of the event, to allow Kom to be automatically selected. At the time, Zareen had written to the Sports Ministry "Sir, the very basis of sport is fair play and need to keep proving oneself each and every time. Even Olympic gold medallists have to fight again to qualify to represent the country".
Zareen's boxing successes have landed her an Adidas endorsement, and she's also supported by the Welspun group.