World Boxing Championship: Nikhat Zareen becomes the fifth Indian woman to win a world boxing gold

World Boxing Championship: Nikhat Zareen becomes the fifth Indian woman to win a world boxing gold
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Nikhat Zareen of India has won the Women’s World Boxing Championships in Turkey, becoming the fifth Indian woman to win the title.

On Thursday, the boxer defeated Thailand’s Jitpong Jutamas 5-0 in the championship’s flyweight division.

“Am I trending on Twitter?” an elated Zareen asked at the press conference after her win.

Since Olympic boxer Mary Kom won gold here in 2018, this is India’s first gold medal at the competition.

Kom has won the tournament on six occasions. Boxers Sarita Devi, Jenny RL, and Lekha KC are among the Indian women who have won gold.

“Winning a medal at the world’s is always a dream and [that] Nikhat could achieve it so early is extremely commendable,” said Ajay Singh, head of the Indian Boxing Federation.

Zareen’s name became a trending topic on Twitter, with messages of congratulations pouring in from all around the country. The boxer “made India proud,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi remarked.

“It was always my dream to be a trend on Twitter and to achieve something for my country at the world level is the biggest motivation,” she stated following her win.

Zareen, 25, is from Nizamabad, in the state of Telangana in southern India. She previously held the title of junior world champion.

For the past decade, her father, Mohammad Jameel, has supported her athletic career.

“People would object to a Muslim girl wearing shorts to play sports and we learnt to ignore them. But when she won the youth championship, people changed their minds and said she’d proven herself.” He told.

Mr Jameel said he felt “nervous but confident” when watching the bout on Thursday.

“Nikhat has been playing so well in the lead up to this match that we were sure she would win. It’s great news for the country and for the Indian boxing federation,” he said. “I am grateful for her dedication [to the sport].”

Zareen won the final against Jutamas by scores of 30-27, 29-28, 29-28, 30-27, 29-28, 30-27, 29-28.

“My target was to win by a unanimous decision if possible as it could have gone either way in a split decision,” she said. “But the second round today was a split round. So I had to give it all in the third round and I am glad I could win.”

Zareen noted in the post-match press conference that the last two years had been difficult due to the Covid epidemic, which made training difficult.

Zareen lost the trials against Mary Kom in 2021 and did not qualify for the Olympics. She claims she has focused on improving her game since then.

“I tried to improve. I worked on my strong points and on where I lacked in my game… All those hurdles which I have faced in my career have made me strong,” she said.

Zareen will now focus on the Commonwealth Games trials, where she will compete in the 50kg (110.2 lbs) division.

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