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I'm the best in 51 kg category, can prove it: Nikhat

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IANS New Delhi
After bagging a bronze medal at the recently concluded Asian Boxing Championships, Nikhat Zareen believes she is currently the best female Indian pugilist in the 51 kg category and can also prove that.
Talking to IANS on the sidelines of a function organised by the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) to honour the boxers who shone at the tournament in Bangkok. Nikhat said: "After my injury, this was a major tournament for me and winning a medal was my priority. For the bronze, I had to defeat the two-time world champion. Now winning medals in the future is my focus as I want everyone to see that Nikhat is the best boxer in the 51 kg category."
A total of 20 boxers represented India at Bangkok and 13 of them were successful in clinching a medal. Amit Panghal and Pooja Rani bagged a gold each, four boxers grabbed silver medals while seven settled for bronze medals.
"Six-time world champions MC Mary Kom and Pinki Jangra also play in the 51 kg category and compared to them, I am a new and young face here. Being a newcomer, people will think I may need more time to perform but I want to change their perception and for this, I have to keep performing well," she opined.
Nikhat, registered a huge upset win over two-time champion Nazym Kyzaibay of Kazakhstan in the 51 kg category to enter the semi-finals, before losing to Vietnam's Nguyen Thi Tam.
Commenting on the championship, Nikhat said: "It was a huge tournament for me. I had to get the better of the two-time world champion after which I was able to clinch the bronze medal. The semi-final bout was anybody's game and unfortunately, the result was in my opponent's favour."
"However, at least I didn't came back empty handed and this is something which motivates me. I will try to win a medal at the Indian Open with the same motivation," she added.
Speaking on her injury, which kept her away from the ring for almost a year, the 22-year-old said: "I injured my shoulder in 2017 and it took around a year to recover. I was also not completely fit in 2018 and so was unable to participate in any big tournament. After winning a gold at the Belgrade boxing championship, my coach also believed in me and wanted me to keep the performance flowing."
Nikhat also expressed disappointment on missing the Commonwealth and Asian Games. "I think I would have certainly bagged a medal if I had been there. No one got any medal in the 51 kg category last year except me but still I didn't get a chance to feature in the selection trials for the Asian Games."
"I felt very disappointed as people felt that I am not a strong contender in the 51 kg category. Due to this, I left the camp and went back to my institute last year after which I lost narrowly to Pinki Jangra in the national championship as she was much more aggressive than me. Later, I also decided to play aggressively due to which I was successful in picking up gold at Belgrade," she added.
Speaking about her next aim, Nikhat said: "I want to give my 100 per cent in the Indian Open, which will be held in May. As Mary Kom and several international boxers would also feature there, the competition is going to be tough. Moreover, the Olympic qualifiers is also slated for this year and I want to prove myself there too."
--IANS
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First Published: Apr 30 2019 | 6:50 PM IST

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