‘I’m lucky to have a father like him’: Nikhat Zareen on her father’s role in becoming a world champion

2022 Commonwealth Games and 2023 World Championships gold medalist Nikhat Zareen recently caught up with Dinesh Karthik on JioCinema’s ‘Get Set Gold’ to talk about her quest for Paris 2024 gold.

The Champion boxer shared about the sacrifices involved in her journey and gave viewers a glimpse into her thought process while in the ring with Karthik as her sparring partner.

Zareen demonstrated how she plans and punches her opponents, revealing the specifics of executing a hook or uppercut. She talked about her boxing style and how she uses her technique to overcome opponents.

“I’m good at counterpunching, so what I do the most is create a situation. I generally change my playing style depending on the opponent. So I’m going to create a situation where I hold my left hand down and you’re going to feel that this is my opening. You’re going to try to hit it right, right? So when you throw to the right, I’ll hook and go to the side. This is a strategy. Showing something and doing something else.”

The two-time world champion took Dinesh through her intense training sessions and shared some personal anecdotes about her favorite foods, something she can only indulge in during the off-season due to the strict weight requirements in which boxers compete.

“Whenever I prepare for a competition, I have to lose 4 kg. In the offseason, every day is a cheat day for me. I am from Hyderabad and obviously biryani happens to be my favorite food. Food made by my mother, adds to the list. When I lose weight, I remember my mother’s food a lot. Most of the time, I celebrate Eid in the camp and don’t go back home. Biryani is my favorite so I get emotional whenever I call her from camp on Eid and she says she cooked biryani. But these are the things you have to sacrifice on your journey to become a world champion.

“Even your mental strength matters a lot, and one of the main things that plays an important role is the support of your family. Many athletes have talent but are not successful in their journey because of outside support. I am lucky to have a father like mine because it was because of his support that I could get to this level as well,” added Zareen.

Zareen has enjoyed a decorated career in the sport, winning two World Championship golds in different weight divisions (2022, Flyweight; 2023, Light Flyweight). She won a gold medal at the 2022 Commonwealth Games and a bronze medal at the 2022 Asian Games. She is among the six Indian boxers who have secured qualification for Paris 2024. Now watch Get Set Gold with Nikhat Zareen at JioCinema.

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    first published: June 03, 2024, 4:50 PM IST