I have no rivalry with Mary Kom: Nikhat Zareen
It all began in 2019, when boxer Mary Kom was selected to join the Indian contingent for the Tokyo Olympics without any trials. The selection was soon under the scanner and a young boxer from Nizamabad, Telangana, Nikhat Zareen, vouched for a trial match for a fair chance of selection. Though Kom won the bout 9-1, a lot of reports stated the birth of a new rivalry between Zareen and Kom, who both compete in the 51kg category.
Refusing any such rivalry and clearing the air, Zareen says, “I have no rivalry with Mary Kom. Boxing is a game, where you remove all of your anger within the ring. Once the bout is over and you step down from the ring, you are friends. I believe in that. Whatever was there between us, it was all finished in the ring. I am nobody to hate her. I respect her, she is my idol. Whenever I see her, I get motivated because despite her age, she has that hunger to win an Olympic gold. I don’t have any grudges or hate. I really want her to secure the gold medal at the forthcoming Olympics and I wish her all the best.”
Moving on from the past incidents, the 24-year-old boxer, is currently focusing on her fitness and is preparing for the future events. “After the trials, I was a little disturbed and sad. Every athlete dreams about representing their country at the Olympics. But eventually, I thought there is no point in crying about one particular thing and I believe everything happens for a good reason,” she says, adding, “I came home to relax, but then the lockdown started and our training camp was never set after that. And when we start training in a camp in the coming months or next year, when it is set up, you won’t have that level of fitness because we are training at home now. It will take time for adapting to that level of peak fitness. That is why my plan that whole 2021 I will train well and participate in some events and target the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games in 2022.”
Ask her if she feels the sport has not received its due recognition in the country, and she says, “Until a few years back, boxing was not recognised. However, ever since Vijender Singh and Mary Kom won medals, that is when people realised that there is a scope to win medals in boxing as well. That is when everyone people started paying attention to boxing.”