Newly-crowned Commonwealth Games light flyweight champion Nikhat Zareen will continue to ply her trade in 50kg weight categorytill the 2024 Paris Olympics. For the CWG, Zareen dropped down from 52kg, in which she won the world championship in May to 50kg to assess how her body adapts to the lower weight class.

“I prefer losing weight and boxing in lower weight categories, so I will continue in this category,” Zareen told PTI in an interaction.

In the absence of her preferred 52kg weight division in the Paris Olympics, the 26-year-old is facing with a dilemma of either moving down to 50kg or climbing up to 54kg.

However, after her dominant display at the CWG that saw her winning the gold in her maiden appearance, it seems that the 2019 Asian Championships bronze medallist is at ease with her new weight class.

“It’s (the win) very important for me as it has come in a new category. I had to work harder for this to cut down two kilograms and at the same time not letting up the speed and power,” she said.

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“The competition here was not close to the one I had at the World Championships. But for me, it was a new experience for me (weight category). I was confident of doing well. But you never know how it pans out in the ring.” Having become a household name after her spectacular World Championship win, the expectations on Zareen to return with a gold medal from Birmingham were high.

“There were a lot of expectations on me after winning the World Championships, no doubt about that.

“But it’s good to be in a pressure situation. I don’t want to take it easy in the ring. I should feel that I’m under pressure and people expect a medal from me.

“I’ve more expectations from me than the people. Pressure only brings out the best out of me.”

It’s ice-cream time for Nikhat

“Ice cream layein? (Have you got my share of the ice cream?)”.

The affable Zareen asked a scribe after her win as it was time to indulge into some cravings and may be have a cheat meal. Zareen had been withholding her desire to eat ice-cream as she had to cut two kilograms for the Games.

But now with the gold medal dangling around her neck, the Nizamabad pugilist can enjoy all the sweet treats she wants.

Fighting in back-to-back tournaments and trials, it has been hectic year for Zareen and now she wants to take a break and enjoy the “moments of life”.

“Now I want to just enjoy the moment and take a break as I’ve been fighting, training in back-to-back championships since January. I’ve not able to celebrate any of my wins.”

Medal, a belated birthday gift to “Ammi dear”

Nikhat could not be with her ‘Ammi’ (mother) on her birthday three days back but now she hopes to make up for it by gifting her the CWG gold.

“This is a gift to her — I will put this around her neck after going back to home,” she said, sporting tri-colour nail paints on her fingers.

The long conversation with the media was also interrupted by a congratulatory call from Telangana CM K Chandrashekar Rao Guru Dakshina for coach

The first thing Zareen did after coming back from the medal ceremony was to put the medal around her coach Bhaskar Bhatt’s neck and take blessings.

“Bitiya hai meri. Our relationship is like a father-daughter and there could not ever be any better feeling than this,” a beaming Bhatt said.

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