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Nikhat Zareen Gets Rousing Welcome From SAI Officials, Fans at IGI Airport

Zareen and bronze medallists Manisha Moun and Parveen Hooda could be seen posing with the officials and fans.

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Sports
2 min read
Nikhat Zareen Gets Rousing Welcome From SAI Officials, Fans at IGI Airport
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Fresh from her win at the Women's Boxing World Championship, Nikhat Zareen, along with bronze medallists Manisha Moun and Parveen Hooda, returned to India on Saturday night, 21 May, and were given a rousing welcome by Sports Authority of India officials and fans at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi.

Zareen won a gold medal in the flyweight category at the Women's Boxing World Championship in Antalya, Turkey, on Thursday.

"Champions are Back! World Champion @nikhat_zareen and World Championships Bronze Medalists #ManishaMoun & #ParveenHooda being welcomed by SAI Officials and fans at IGI Airport, Delhi Welcome back Champs #IBAWWCHS2022 #IndianSports #Boxing," Sports Authority of India's media handle tweeted.

Zareen, Moun, and Hooda could be seen posing with the officials and fans at the airport, displaying their respective medals.

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Nikhat Zareen defeated Thailand's Jitpong Jutamas 5-0 without breaking a sweat in the flyweight category final on Thursday night, with the judges scoring the bout 30-27, 29-28, 29-28, 30-27, 29-28 in the Indian's favour.

The Nizamabad (Telangana)-born boxer became the only fifth Indian woman to bag a gold at the World Boxing Championships after record six-time champion MC Mary Kom (2002, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010, and 2018), Sarita Devi (2006), Jenny RL (2006) and Lekha KC (2006).

It was also India's first gold medal since boxing great Mary Kom last won it in 2018.

A Rough Journey

This was Nikhat's second appearance at a World Championship but the first in her preferred flyweight category.

She broke into the scene back in 2011 by winning the gold medal at the Junior World Boxing Championships but has since been biding her time as Indian boxing legend MC Mary Kom also competes in the same category as Nikhat. The 25-year-old was forced to write to the sports minister to ask for his intervention in 2019 when she was denied a trial for the World Championships, with Mary being declared the automatic qualifier.

"I was ready for the bout and all warmed up and they came and told me there will be no trial in the flyweight category. That really hurt me, it made me feel like I wasn't even good enough to try to compete," Nikhat Zareen told The Quint in an interview in May.

However, after much controversy, there was a trial but not for the World Championship. It was for the Tokyo Olympics and Mary won the trials with ease. The bout was shrouded in controversy, with both sides flinging allegations of poor sportsmanship after the match.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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