The youngster now has the 2022 CWG and Asian Games in her sights
For Nikhat Zareen, returning to competition after a year, beating two World champions in a row to land a bronze medal in the Bosphorus tournament in Turkey is a huge confidence-booster.
A former World junior champion and an Asian championships bronze medallist, Nikhat now wants to build on this performance and prepare herself for the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games in 2022.
“I re-joined the National camp on January 8 and the fact that I could produce such a performance in about two months of training gives me a lot of confidence.
“Now I will prepare myself for the big events next year,” Nikhat told The Hindu after returning to the camp on Monday.
Getting back to the disciplined life of a boxer, following the lockdown and other engagements, was never easy for Nikhat, who had last participated in the Strandja memorial tournament in January 2020.
But her positive attitude and willingness to take on challenges helped her re-adapt to a regimented life.
The 24-year-old was baffled to see the 51kg draw at the Bosphorus event. “I did not know how to react. But I stayed calm and thought, ‘This is a new beginning. If I do well here, then I can make an impact’,” said Nikhat.
“I took some time to get back my rhythm in the first bout, but grew in confidence as the tournament progressed. Now I have the satisfaction of starting off well, beating two Worlds champions (Paltceva Ekaterina of Russia and Nazym Kyzaibay of Kazakhstan) before losing to a Worlds silver medallist (Busenaz Cakiroglu of Turkey).
“I can learn from this experience and work on getting back to my best,” said Nikhat.
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