I am not here to represent any religious community, but country: Nikhat Zareen

Urges more corporates to come forward and support athletes, have live telecast of sports other than cricket

sweta-ranjan

Sweta Ranjan | June 14, 2022 | New Delhi


#Nikhat Zareen   #boxing   #sports  
Nikhat Zareen at the press meet in New Delhi Monday (Photo: Sweta Ranjan)
Nikhat Zareen at the press meet in New Delhi Monday (Photo: Sweta Ranjan)

“As an athlete I'm here to represent India. For me, Hindu-Muslim doesn't matter. I represent my country, not a community,” world champion boxer Nikhat Zareen has said when asked how she felt when people spoke about her background and religion more than her achievement as a boxer.

Zareen was invited by the Indian Women's Press Corps on Monday to interact with the media. The 25-year-old pugilist from Telangana emphasised upon the importance of training to athletes for handling mental pressure at high-stakes sporting events.

Handling “mental pressure” at the highest level is something Indian athletes lack, she said, adding that specialised training should be given to overcome this hurdle at big-ticket events.

Zareen, who shot to fame by becoming only the fifth Indian woman to be crowned world champion last month when she beat Thailand's Jitpong Jutamas 5-0 in the flyweight division of the championship in Turkey, said that Indian athletes have a tendency to perform well at regular events but falter at the big stage like the Olympics or the world championships.

“Our Indian boxers are very talented; we are not less than anyone. We have strength, speed and power… everything,” Zareen said. “It’s just that once you reach that (world) level, boxers should be given training to handle the mental pressure. Once you reach the big platforms a lot of athletes become nervous, they aren’t able to perform,” she added.

Coming from an orthodox background, Zareen did not have a smooth sail to winning the world championship. How was it for her to handle societal prejudice and struggle to make her way to finally win the gold in the 52kg category at the AIBA World Championship?

“Following my World Boxing Championship Gold, I realise people’s expectations have gone up. I will work harder and put in more preparation to get a medal in the 2024 Paris Olympics.” For now, her focus is on the Commonwealth Games to be held in Birmingham from July 28- August 8, 2022.

Zareen said that the support from state governments and corporates is very important for the growth and success of an athlete. Lauding the support from Sports Authority of India (SAI), she said SAI centres remained open during the COVID lockdown to enable athletes to train without interruption. She called the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) an amazing initiative that had enabled athletes to train at the top level without any worry.

Thanking her corporate sponsors, she urged more corporates to come forward to support athletes. Asked why cricket matches overshadow any other sport in India, the boxer said, “Like cricket, there should be live telecast of boxing bouts to inspire youngsters to take up the sport.”

Talking about her struggle in the 50-kg category, which was dominated by six-time World Boxing champion MC Mary Kom, Zareen said the wait for opportunities only increased her hunger. “If I had not struggled, I might not have worked so hard. And if I hadn’t worked hard, I wouldn’t be a world champion today,” she said.

Talking about her boxing idols, Nikhat said besides admiring Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson, she was impressed with British Olympic medallist Nicola Adams. “I wanted to have one fight with her before she retired. I liked her stance, her clean boxing style. She would show her game and I liked that,” she said.

 

Comments

 

Other News

NCP’s Ajit Pawar is LoP in Maharashtra assembly

After the Bharatiya Janta Party orchestrated rebellion in the Shiv Sena partly led by Eknath Shinde who took away with him a majority of MLAs, the Eknath Shinde-BJP government proved majority in the state assembly floor test, crossing  the midway mark (144) getting 164 votes in their favour. The Natio

Why sanitation should matter to you

How many times a day do you flush the toilet? This number is probably between five and eight times for an average person. How many times a day do you spare a thought towards what happens to the human waste after you flush it away? The answer to this is likely to be close to zero for most people.

Who is Eknath Shinde, the auto driver who became CM?

Hailing from Satara district of Maharashtra, Eknath Sambhaji Shinde had to leave his education midway to financially support his family. He worked as an auto rickshaw driver, a lorry driver and also said to have worked in a brewery before he came in contact with Anand Dighe, Shiv Sena’s Thane unit pr

Metro 3 car shed to stay at Aarey, say new CM Shinde

Former Maharashtra chief minister Davendra Fadnavis stunned all at a press conference Thursday and named Eknath Shinde, the rebel MLA from Shiv Sena, as the next chief minister. Though Fadnavis said he would stay out of the government, a few hours later the BJP leadership announced he would be the deputy c

Uddhav Thackeray resigns as chief minister of Maharashtra

Minutes after the Supreme Court ordered a floor test on Wednesday night, Uddhav Thackeray in a televised address resigned as the chief minister of Maharashtra and also as a member of legislative council (MLC). He later drove down to Raj Bhavan and tendered his resignation to the governor Bhagat Singh Koshi

Gig workforce expected to expand to 2.35 crore by 2029-30

The gig economy has arrived in India, as the Covid-19 pandemic has propelled a flexibility of employment. As many as 77 lakh workers were engaged in the gig economy, constituting 2.6% of the non-agricultural workforce or 1.5% of the total workforce in India. The gig workforce is expected to expand to 2.35

Visionary Talk: Sanjay Pandey, Mumbai Police Commissioner with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now


Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter