‘The day Tokyo Olympics ended, I started preparing for Paris 2024’: Nikhat Zareen

New Delhi, July 2 (IANS) Nikhat Zareen is setting her sights on an Olympic medal to add to her impressive collection at Paris 2024. Six Indian pugilists, four women and two men, have qualified for the Paris Olympics and five of them are training in Germany till July 22 before heading to the French capital for the Games.
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‘The day Tokyo Olympics ended, I started preparing for Paris 2024’: Nikhat Zareen

New Delhi, July 2 (IANS) Nikhat Zareen is setting her sights on an Olympic medal to add to her impressive collection at Paris 2024. Six Indian pugilists, four women and two men, have qualified for the Paris Olympics and five of them are training in Germany till July 22 before heading to the French capital for the Games.

The squad includes Nikhat Zareen (women’s 50kg), Preeti Pawar (women’s 54kg), Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Lovlina Borgohain (women’s 75kg), Nishant Dev (men’s 71kg) and Amit Panghal (men’s 51kg).

Since the conclusion of India's campaign at Tokyo 2020, Zareen has been laser-focused on Paris 2024, confident that this is her moment to shine. "When India's campaign in the Tokyo Olympics ended, that day I decided to channel my focus into preparing for the Paris Olympics. I also posted a picture on social media about the countdown to Paris," said Zareen. "I think everyone has their moment, and this is my moment. Whoever said I wouldn't make it to Paris, I finally made it. I'll take all the negativity and positivity around me positively, try to get better, and come as a different fighter inside the ring in Paris," Nikhat Zareen told JioCinema.

Reflecting on her path to success, Zareen attributes much of her success to her father's unwavering support, despite the challenges posed by societal norms in her community. "My journey has been a roller coaster ride, coming from a community where women lack support. But my father, an athlete himself, knew what it takes to become a champion. He always supported me in my journey. He told me to focus on boxing and said, 'When you fulfill your dream of winning a medal for the country, that day these people will come to congratulate you and take selfies.'

Zareen emphasises the sacrifices necessary to reach the pinnacle of her sport, underscoring the unique challenge of becoming an Olympic Champion. "I have sacrificed many things to become a World Champion, but becoming an Olympic Champion is different. Whenever I am preparing for competitions, I stay away from social media. I don't talk much with my family or friends. I spend time with myself, and I try to use it the right way. I read a lot of books also," she shared. "This time, in preparation for Paris 2024, I'll try to stay away from all these distractions, and I'll try to stay as positive as possible and work harder to leave no stone unturned for Paris."

Providing a glimpse into her pre-fight mindset, Zareen emphasised the importance of giving her all in every bout. "I go in with the motive to give my best so that whatever happens inside the ring, whatever the result might be, I shouldn't have the regret that I could have won the bout if I had given 10% more. I don't want that regret, so I go in with the mindset to always give my 100%."

Nikhat Zareen's illustrious career includes two World Championships Gold medals, a gold at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, and a bronze at the 2022 Asian Games. She is among six Indian boxers who have qualified for Paris 2024, competing in the women's 50kg category.

--IANS

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