Amateur Indian boxer and Asian Amateur Championships bronze medallist Nikhat Zareen is now all set to make it big at the international level as she is now included in Sports Authority of India (SAI)’s ‘Target Olympic Podium Scheme’ (TOPS).
The Target Olympic Podium Scheme was established in 2014 to assist top Indian athletes in their training and preparation for the Olympic Games. The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports recruits athletes within the ‘TOPS Elite Athletes’ Identification Committee’, from Archery, Badminton, Boxing, Hockey, Shooting and Wrestling- which are termed as ‘High-Priority’ sports.
SAI has started recruiting potential Olympic medal prospects for the upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games next year, as well as the subsequent Paris Olympic Games in 2024. Nikhat Zareen, who is a former world junior boxing champion, is now a member of the star-studded TOPS committee, which also includes MC Mary Kom.
I hope to live upto the expectations: Nikhat Zareen expresses her gratitude for TOPS inclusion
Speaking to Sportstar, Nikhat Zareen thanked SAI and the Union Sports Ministry for including her into the scheme, as well as A Venkateshwar Reddy, the chairman of Sports Authority of Telangana State (SATS) for assisting her to receive financial aid.
“I am really working hard. I feel there are much better chances of me putting up a special performance in the Games and I thank Union Sports Ministry, SAI and all those who supported me to be back in the TOPS,” Zareen said in the interview.
“I am especially grateful to SATS chairman A. Venkateshwar Reddy for facilitating a financial assistance of Rs. 5 lakhs from the NATCO Group recently which is unforgettable for it came in tough times. I hope to live upto the expectations,” the 24-year-old pugilist added.
Getting the beat back🥊💥
— Nikhat Zareen (@nikhat_zareen) September 9, 2020
International tournaments and medals are now the targets of Nikhat Zareen
Hailing from the Nizamabad district of Telangana, Zareen made her international breakthrough back in 2011 when she won a gold at the AIBA Women’s Junior and Youth World Boxing Championship in Turkey, competing in the 51 kg flyweight category.
She clinched bronze at the 2019 Asian Amateur Boxing Championships in Bangkok, as well as a silver at the 2019 Thailand Open International Boxing Tournament.
“I believe my job is to keep working hard and leave the rest to destiny,” Zareen continued, “the target for me is to stay fit and compete in international tournaments whenever they are scheduled and win medals for the country.”
Right now, I am training at a private centre in Madhapur in the evenings,” she acknowledged.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Olympic Games was postponed to next year and will be held from 23rd July to 8th Aug 2021.