I do not represent a community, but my country: Nikhat Zareen

New Delhi: World champion boxer Nikhat Zareen says she represents her country, not the community to which she belongs.

The pugilist said what she thought when asked if people talk more about her religious background than her hard work and accomplishments in the ring.

“As an athlete, I am here to represent India. For me Hindu-Muslim doesn’t matter. I do not represent a community but my country. Happy to win a medal for my country,” said Zareen.

Much has been said about how Zareen, who comes from an orthodox society, had to overcome societal prejudice to pursue a career in boxing. But the 25-year-old made it clear that she was not fighting for any particular community, but fighting and winning for India.

As the discussion turned to her sport, she said dealing with ‘mental pressure’ at the highest level was something Indian athletes lacked and pushed for specialized training to overcome this hurdle at high-profile events. budget.

Indian athletes tend to perform well in regular events but fail in big stages like the Olympics or World Championships.

“Our Indian boxers are very talented, we are no less than anyone. We have strength, speed and power…everything,” Zareen said when asked where Indian boxers are lacking. .

“It’s just that once you get to that (world) level, boxers should be trained to handle the mental pressure.

“Once you hit the big platforms, a lot of athletes get nervous, they are not able to perform,” added Zareen, who was speaking at an interaction hosted by the Indian Women’s Press Corps (IWPC).

Zareen, who was crowned world champion in the flyweight event last month, has also sealed a place for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, starting July 28.

Zareen has had to wait a long time to get a shot at the flyweight class that veteran Indian boxer MC Mary Kom has made her own, but the Telengana boxer feels the wait has increased her thirst to do well.

“Not only for me but for other boxers in this category, they also wanted a chance. But you have to prove yourself and I did that by becoming world champion.

“If I hadn’t wrestled and Mary Kom wouldn’t have been in my weight class, I might not have worked so hard.

“And if I hadn’t worked hard, I wouldn’t be world champion today. So I’m going to take it positively. Maybe I was hungrier because I got a chance so late.

She had demanded a “fair trial” for the Tokyo Olympic qualifiers, also against Mary Kom.

After the trial, which Mary Kom won 9-1, Zareen had tried to kiss the senior boxer but was snubbed by the Manipuri.

“I felt bad at that moment because the person I consider my role model, my idol, behaved in this way. But things happen in the heat of the moment because the fight is very intense .

“I moved on, I met her after winning the world championship and everything is fine.”

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