Nikhat Zareen looks to secure Paris Olympics quota via Asiad medal | undefined News – Times of India

Semis spot good enough, but boxing’s poster girl has sights set on gold
NEW DELHI: Nikhat Zareen has been in red-hot form for some time now. She is undefeated in the ring since March last year, securing two World Championships titles and a Commonwealth Games gold during this period.
The Indian women’s boxing’s poster girl will next be seen in action at the Asian Games in Hangzhou, which will also mark her debut at the continental event. Nikhat will be the favourite to win gold in the women’s 50kg category. In the process, she will try to secure a quota place for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Four Olympic berths will be on offer in Nikhat’s weight class and a semifinal entry will be enough to book her flight to the Summer Games. “That will be my top priority,” Nikhat had earlier said. “This will be my first Asian Games and I am confident of winning gold. I am confident about my chances.”
The boxing competitions at the Asiad will run from September 24 to October 5 and India will be represented by 13 boxers – seven men and six women.
Nikhat, who has established herself as a worthy successor to legendary M C Mary Kom in the flyweight division, will start her campaign on the opening day of boxing competitions on September 24 at the Hangzhou Gymnasium.
For Nikhat, her biggest rival at the Asiad will be two-time Asian champion – Vietnamese Nguyen Th Tam. Their paths will cross either in the quarterfinal or the semifinal stage.
In March this year, Nikhat had defeated Thi Tam in the final to become the only Indian boxer besides Mary Kom to secure multiple titles at the boxing Worlds.
Talking about her bout after her victory over Thi Tam, Nikhat had said: “The bout against her was my toughest in the entire tournament and since this was the last match of the meet, I wanted to utilise my energy completely and leave everything in the ring. It was a rollercoaster of a bout with both of us getting warnings as well as eight counts. It was very close.”
For Nikhat, it was a tough choice to choose between her natural weight of 52-54kg or move to a lower division of 50kg. She usually competes in the non-Olympic weight class of 52kg but for the Asiad and Paris, she shifted to the 50kg division.
Nikhat believes that the boxers who move up to higher weight categories are the ones at a “disadvantage”.
“It’s difficult to change weight categories as there are differences in each division. I dropped down to 50kg because it wouldn’t have made much difference as my current weight hovers around 51kg or 51.5kg. So, that way I’ll have to cut down only a little bit of weight,” she said.
Apart from Nikhat, Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist and world champion Lovlina Borgohain will be another big medal hope in the middleweight category. Indian boxers had secured a gold and a bronze at the Jakarta Asian Games in 2018.

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