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Was One of My Dreams to Trend on Twitter: Gold Medal Winner Nikhat Zareen after Conquering the World

Indian boxer Nikhat Zareen (BFI)

Indian boxer Nikhat Zareen (BFI)

Nikhat Zareen became the fifth Indian woman to secure a gold medal at the World Boxing Championships

Indian boxer Nikhat Zareen scripted history by clinching the gold medal in the Women’s World Boxing Championships on Thursday. However, the journey of the young pugilist hasn’t been easy as she has gone through a lot in the last couple of years.

Those who know the boxer or have followed her journey closely can explain how she also outpunched negativity and trolls with her sheer determination and passion for the sport.

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In 2019, Nikhat was trending on social media but not all were positive comments. People were making fun of her after she wrote to Sports minister Kiren Rijiju to get a match against the 6-time World Champion M.C Mary Kom for a spot in the team for Olympic qualifiers.

The young boxer was brutally trolled on social media for her ‘fair’ appeal. She later did get the bout but lost it 1-9 to the legendary boxer. Mary even refused to shake hands with her after the bout.

Facing so much embarrassment, the boxer kept quiet for some time and decided to rather focus on training. She stopped taking calls from the media as well to get over the defeat.

On Thursday, Nikhat was again trending on Twitter, and the boxer was elated as it was her dream to trend once again.

“I’m trending on Twitter” It was one of my dreams to trend on Twitter! If I’m really trending right now then I’m really happy,” said Nikhat in her online press conference after her victory.

At the medal ceremony, a visibly emotional Nikhat stood tall as the Indian national anthem played and the tri-colour was raised high.

When asked what was going through her mind, she said: “I was thinking about my parents. Whenever I called them after the bout, they would always be praying for me. I am very happy for them. My father is very supportive. This is all because of my family support. When I was going through tough times, my family supported me a lot. I felt like hugging my parents after the bout. So I became emotional.”

She registered a dominating 5-0 victory to bag gold in Istanbul. Living up to the expectations, Nikhat thrashed Thailand’s Jitpong Jutamas without breaking a sweat in the 52kg final with judges scoring the bout 30-27, 29-28, 29-28, 30-27, 29-28 in the Indian’s favour.

“My focus was to win the bout with unanimous decision as split decision could go either way. After the split decision in the second round, I wanted to win big and did that with the third bout,” she said.

The Nizamabad (Telangana)-born boxer became only the fifth Indian woman to secure a gold medal at the World Boxing Championships after record six-time champion Mary Kom (2002, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010, and 2018), Sarita Devi (2006), Jenny R.L (2006) and Lekha K.C (2006). It was also India’s first gold medal since boxing great Mary Kom won it in 2018.

She is not done either and will turn her attention to Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, with Paris Olympics being her end goal.

“My focus is firmly on the Paris Olympics. My goal is to win gold in the Olympics. Of course, I focus only on one tournament at a time. My focus was completely on this World Championships. Now, I will shift my focus to the Commonwealth Games,” she said.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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first published:May 20, 2022, 08:32 IST