Social prejudice and shorts ... Nikhat Zareen's obstacles on way to World Championships gold

(Nizamabad) Telangana:

Former footballer and cricketer Mohammad Jameel wanted one of his four daughters to take up one of these sports. The Nizamabad native chose athletics for his third daughter, Nikhat Zareen. Young Nikhat emerged as the state champion in sprint events, but entered the boxing ring on the advice of an uncle, after which she performed brilliantly.

Nikhat became the flyweight (52kg) world champion with a unanimous 5-0 verdict over Jitpong Jutamas of Thailand. 

“Winning gold at the World Championships is something that will serve as an inspiration to Muslim girls as well as every girl in the country to aim to achieve big in life,” Jameel told The Indian Express.

As both sons of her uncle Samsamuddin’s sons Eteshamuddin and Itishamuddin were boxers, young Nikhat did not have to seek inspiration outside her family circle. Her father did not discourage his daughter from entering a sport that did not see many female boxers competing in Nizamabad or Hyderabad in the late 2000s.

The game required girls to wear shorts and training shirts, which was not easy to accept for the Jameel family. 

“When Nikhat told us about her desire to become a boxer, we had no hesitation. But sometimes, relatives or friends tell us that a girl should not play a sport that requires her to wear shorts. But we knew that we will support Nikhat,” Jameel said.

During the last three years, Nikhat defeated former light-flyweight (51 kg) world champion Ekaterina Paltseva of Russia and two-time former light fly-weight world champion Nazim Kazaybe of Kazakhstan. She defeated Tokyo Olympic silver medalist Busenaz Kakiroglu of Turkey at the Strandja Memorial ahead of the World Championships.


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