Star Indian boxer Nikhat Zareen recalled how her father’s words – ‘ society says boxing is not for women’ – spurred her on to take up the sport.
“I had to work hard and overcome hurdles including talk that boxing is not for women,” Nikhat told the media at the launch of Adidas’ ‘Watch Us Move’ campaign, which aims to celebrate womanhood and their freedom of movement.
“I had to tell people that nothing will happen to my face and my beauty will be intact,” she added.
The 24-year-old former world junior boxing champion revealed that her father’s words pushed her to prove him and others who have a similar view, to pursue a career in boxing.
“I can still feel my father’s voice echo in my head – ‘boxing is not for women, is what society thinks & that it’s a men’s sport’,” Nikhat said.
“These very words challenged me and I wanted to go out there prove that boxing doesn’t care whether you are a man or a woman. It’s the desire and aspiration that should matter. Boxing for me is more to do with the attitude and my sense of pride.
“I want to inspire women to become drivers of change for one another with their inspiring and rebellious optimism,” she added.
Indian squash star Dipika Pallikal also joined Nikhat at the launch of the campaign, along with former Miss World Manushi Chillar.
The Watch Us Move campaign “is a rallying call for all women to be the drivers of change for one another with their inspiring rebellious optimism,” Pallikal said.
“Through this campaign, I urge women to express themselves more freely and also to move & enjoy and see how this movement can do wonders to their bodies and minds for overall well being,” she added.
Nikhat and Pallikal recalled having role models for young girls across the country is important as well as how they would like to be that themselves.
Manushi, who won the Miss World crown in 2017, said the campaign “celebrates the fact that being feminine is powerful in every way, shape and form”.