Boxing Champion Nikhat Zareen On Packing A Punch Wherever She Goes

Born into an Orthodox family in Telangana, Nikhat Zareen won gold at the 2022 IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships as well as the Birmingham Commonwealth Games. Travel+Leisure India & South Asia talks to the athlete about her current mindset, future plans and favorite travel destinations. By Veenu Singh

Excerpts from the interview with Nikhat Zareen:

T+L India: They won two gold medals this year. How do you feel?

Nikhat Sareen

Nikhat Sareen: I’m happy with what I’ve achieved this year. And now I’m concentrating on next year’s Asian Games because it’s an Olympic qualifier.

T+L India: What were the biggest challenges you had to overcome on your way?

Nikhat Sareen: I have faced both mental and physical challenges to get where I am today. In the early years of my boxing career I had to fight against a patriarchal society and its orthodox way of thinking. I later had a serious shoulder injury that kept me out of the ring for more than a year. And during that time there were people who said my boxing career was over and I wouldn’t make a comeback.

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T+L India: You have traveled to several countries for championships. Which country impressed you the most and why?

Nikhat Sareen: My favorite is Turkey because I won two world titles there – one at the 2011 AIBA Women’s Youth & Junior World Boxing Championships and another earlier this year.

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T+L India: What is your favorite vacation destination?

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Nikhat Sareen: Bali and Kashmir are on my bucket list for solo travelers. And I prefer Manali for family vacation.

T+L India: What is your fondest childhood travel memory?

Nikhat Sareen: It must have been when I first traveled from Nizamabad to Hyderabad with my family. When it comes to international it has to be Turkey when I was selected for the World Junior Championships.

T+L India: Are you a mountain or a beach person?

Nikhat Sareen: Always mountains – I love the green and the fresh air.

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T+L India: What kind of traveler are you?

Nikhat Sareen: When I’m out with my friends, I love adventure. But when I’m alone, I prefer to travel carefully.

T+L India: What are the three must-carry items in your travel bag?

Nikhat Sareen: If I’m going to a competition, my phone, a speaker and my training gear. And during private vacations, I always carry bagged edibles along with my phone and speaker.

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