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Nikhat Zareen Talks About Meeting Mary Kom & the Start of Their 'New Friendship'

Nikhat Zareen won the gold at the World Boxing Championship in the flyweight category in May.

Updated
Boxing
2 min read

MC Mary Kom and Nikhat Zareen's rivalry has been one of the biggest in Indian sport over the last few years with both boxers competing in the same Olympics category.

Mary's automatic selection for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics was questioned by a young Nikhat in 2019 as she wrote to the sports minister to get an opportunity to fight for the spot. After much controversy, there was a trial and Mary won it with ease, but the end of the bout also saw much bitterness between the two boxers with both alleging improper conduct by the other.

Two-and-a-half years have since passed and 2022 has been the year of Nikhat Zareen so far. The 25-year-old went through the national trials and competed at the World Championships in May, in her favoured flyweight category, and bagged a gold for the country.

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After her win, boxing legend Mary Kom tweeted and congratulated Zareen who was only too happy to see a player who had been her idol growing up celebrate her win.

'When I won the gold medal, Mary Kom tweeted and congratulated me, I was very happy. I thought after the trial, all that happened between us... we were not in touch. I thought this was the start of our new friendship. As I’ve said, I’ve always looked up to her and wanted her to support me and motivate and inspire me. When I saw her tweet, I was very happy and I thought once I come back to India, I will go and show my medal to her and take blessings from her,' said Nikhat Zareen while speaking to The Quint.

Pugilists Nikhat Zareen, Manisha Moun, and Parveen Hooda were given a rousing welcome by Sports Authority of India officials and fans.

(Photo Courtesy: SAI Media)

After returning to India, Nikhat's calendar was packed with felicitation ceremonies and meetings with dignitaries but the day she returned to training, she spotted Mary in the arena and rushed to meet her.

"I ran and went to get my medal and asked Bhatt sir (Indian women’s boxing coach) to help me show my medal to Mary di. He took me to her and told her I wanted to show her my medal and she came. I showed her my medal, she was happy and congratulated me and this is just the start. She told me to continue working hard and winning medals for India. That really made me happy," recalled Nikhat.

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Published: 
Edited By :Saundarya Talwar
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