State Champion in athletics, World Champion in boxing: Nikhat Zareen
Hailing from a sporty family, newly-crowned Boxing World Champion Nikhat Zareen was always fated for sports. A lover of biryanis and nihari, Zareen however had started off with athletics instead.
Inheriting the sporty genes quite naturally with Nikhat Zareen's father, Mohammad Jameel being a former cricketer and footballer himself, the fact that Nikhat's life would also take a sporty turn, was rather inevitable then.
The 25-year-old Nizamabad boxer etched history as she went on to defeat Thailand's Jitpong Jutamas in the finals of the IBA Women's World Boxing Championships and bagged the World Championship crown for herself in Istanbul, Turkey.
With Mohammad Jameel's vested interests in sports, Nikhat started out with athletics as a youngster and even went on to become the State Champion in both the sprint events, as The Indian Express mentions.
Boxing was to happen only a little later but it turned out to be the correct match made-in-heaven when Nikhat put on the boxing gloves, ready to do India proud, on the suggestion of an ankle. And she hasn't looked back ever since, battling injuries, doubts, and controversies, with her solid punches.
However, Nikhat isn't the only one into sports in her family as her younger sister also plays badminton, making them truly a sporty brood by all means. The other two elder ones are also well-established as doctors.
A fond lover of biryani and nalli nihari, Nikhat Zareen was away for Eid and Ramadan celebrations due to her preparation for the World Championships, where she only had gold on her mind.
Having won a gold from the Strandja International in February, the 25-year-old who competes in the 52kg Flyweight category looked hungry for the World Championship crown and won all her bouts based on a unanimous decision.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Jameel explained, "I used to work as a sales assistant in Saudi Arabia for 15 years before I decided to shift base to Nizamabad to support my daughter's studies and sports. While Nikhat's two elder sisters are doctors, I had to spend time on Nikhat's training as well as her younger sister, who plays badminton.
When Nikhat told us about her willingness to become a boxer, there was no hesitation in our minds. But sometimes, relatives or friends would tell us that a girl should not play a sport where she has to wear shorts. But we knew that whatever Nikhat wanted, we would support her dream."
Becoming a World Junior Champion in 2011, Nikhat had always shown promise and has been a force to reckon with, notwithstanding her infamous drama with legendary boxer and Olympic bronze medallist Mary Kom.
With this gold medal win now, Zareen has defied every odd to cement her place in India and the world as the queen of Indian boxing currently and as for the biryani and nihari she loves - now is the perfect time to satisfy those cravings because the youngster has earned it.