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Nikhat Zareen, a champion in the making

Tuesday May 03, 2011 08:24:49 PM, Mohammed Shafeeq , IANS

Fifteen-year-old Nikhat Zareen holding the gold medal she won at the Junior World Cup women's boxing championship held in Antalya, Turkey.

(Photo: IANS)

Hyderabad: "When Mohammed Ali's daughter can do it why can't I?" asked Nikhat Zareen when she took to the boxing ring two years ago. The 15-year-old girl from Nizamabad district of Andhra Pradesh made history Saturday by bagging the gold in the Junior World Cup women's boxing championship in Antalya (Turkey) in the flyweight category. Nikhat, who is the first boxer from the state to achieve the feat, has now set her eyes on the 2016 Olympics.

"She always says winning a medal at the Olympics is her ultimate goal," her proud father Mohammed Jameel Ahmed told IANS.

Coming from a modest background but a family which produced international pugilists, Nikhat has achieved what many girls of her age can only dream of.

The ninth standard student of Nirmala Vidya Convent School took to the boxing ring when she was 13 but proved her mettle with her hard work, discipline and commitment.

Nikhat is the third among the four daughters of Jameel and Parveen Sultana. The couple has no son but treats her like one.

"We know it is not easy for girls to take to sports, but in her case it was not a difficult decision. She wanted to follow into the footsteps of her cousins, who are international boxers. So this is like a family game for her," said Jameel Ahmed, a former state-level football player who now works as a salesman in Saudi Arabia.

Nikhat did not have to search for a coach either. Spotting the inborn qualities of a boxer, her uncle Mohammed Samsamuddin, started training her in the open space at the Sports Authority of Andhra Pradesh (SAAP) training centre in Nizamabad. Lack of proper infrastructure did not deter her from achieving her goal.

Nikhat started practising with her three cousins - Ehteshamuddin, Itesamuddin and Mohammed Farooq - who are international boxers. "She developed interest in boxing after watching my three sons, practised with them and thus grew in confidence and courage," said Samsamuddin, who is secretary of the Nizamabad Boxing Association.

"She has some natural qualities of a boxer like her physique and hand-eye coordination. She has an amazing capability of learning things quickly and is very disciplined."

Though she is only 14 (she will be turning 15 on June 14) and is eligible for the sub-junior category, it was because of her talent that she was picked for the Junior World Cup.

"At a very young age she has achieved tremendous success, made her town, state and the country proud. This is the grace of Almighty Allah," said Samsamuddin, who is determined to help Nikhat achieve her Olympic dream.

(Mohammed Shafeeq can be contacted at





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