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Boxing

'I get nervous, it is crucial for me': Nikhat Zareen before Paris Olympics

Nikhat Zareen is one of the strongest medal contenders for India in the Paris Olympics. After defending her Worlds gold last year, she won the Elorda Cup this year.

I get nervous, it is crucial for me: Nikhat Zareen before Paris Olympics
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Nikhat Zareen is a two-time World Championships gold medallist. (Photo credit: SAI Media)

By

The Bridge Desk

Updated: 14 Jun 2024 12:44 PM GMT

Reigning world champion Nikhat Zareen is pumping up to make her Olympic debut in Paris, but she is nervous.

"Before every competition I get nervous," the 28-year-old boxer of the 50kg category said at a press conference facilitated by Sports Authority of India.

But the boxer from Nizamabad explained why she needs to get nervous before a marquee event like that of the 2024 Paris Olympics.

"If I do not get nervous, my body does not work the way I want. When I am nervous, my body works well. I am more focused," she reasoned.

Nervousness and mental toughness are two attributes which moulded Nikhat into a champion boxer inside the ring.

"Also, this is my first Olympics and I do not have the experience of playing at the Olympics. That is also the reason I am nervous," Nikhat stressed.

Currently training at NIS Patiala, Nikhat is one of the strongest contenders for a medal in boxing. She won two world titles in 2022 and 2023 respectively.

'Olympic is about luck'

Talking about her first Olympics Nikhat said, "In the Olympics, there is no seeding, no ranking. So, it is all about your luck there. I do not know whom I will be facing in the first round or in the second round."

Last year, despite being an unseeded player, Nikhat emerged victorious by clinching her second World Championships title in New Delhi transitioning from 52kg to 50 kg weight division.

In May this year, she defeated Zhazira Urakbayeva of Kazakhstan by a unanimous decision to win the women’s 52kg category at the Elorda Cup. But at the Strandja Memorial in Bulgaria, Nikhat went down to 20-year-old Sabina Bobokulova of Uzbekistan in the summit clash.

Explaining why seeding does not matter to her, Nikhat said, "It is because there are a lot of boxers who even after seeding, do not win a medal. But I have also noticed that whenever I have a tough draw, I perform well at that time.”

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