From Asking ‘Who’ to Being ‘Proud’

Indian boxer Nikat Zarin joined the elite group of women as she took the gold medal at the 12th IBA World Boxing Championship.

When a bevy of messages flooded media networks and social platforms, one specific desire emerged. And none other than the legendary MC Mary Kom.

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“our end Tweet embed To win the gold medal. Very proud of you for your historical performance and all the best in your future endeavours.” Read the tweet.

The message was special, not least because it was a display of admiration for an athlete almost synonymous with Indian boxing, but also because of the two boxers’ shared history.

Two years ago, when the authorities were filling out the national team rosters to represent India at the Tokyo Olympics, the story began.

Mary Kom, who was at the height of her prowess, was given a direct qualification to represent India in Tokyo, on the back of her reputation and achievements.

Young Zarin, who already had important titles, albeit in the junior categories, was not too happy with the decision to give the first boxer direct entry into the fantastic event without going through a selection experience.

She wrote to then-Sports Minister Keren Rego, to express her dissatisfaction with the decision and demanded a “fair” trial. The Minister who saw just cause for the claim assured that Zareen will be provided an opportunity to share her claim in the Indian List. Punished for a frenzy in which Zarine will confront Marie Kom herself.

Mary Kom, the flag bearer of the Indian Olympians, was not satisfied with the claims of the young woman and made her dissatisfied with them. She questioned the merit of young Zarin’s claim to the throne and advised even native Telanganas to focus on their trade instead.

Zareen’s inexperience let her down in the fight against Manipuri as veteran Mary Kom scored a resounding victory and bragged the Gulf in quality among the boxers. She even refused to shake Zareen’s hand at the end of the fight.

Surely, it wasn’t easy for a young athlete to savor such embarrassment on the FN after asking for the challenge in the first place. And according to the times we live in, she has been called out and ridiculed on social media platforms.

But, as evidenced by her recent victories, Zarine is not one to quit. She put the loss behind her and focused on improving her game. And for her patience and perseverance, the universe has rewarded her with multiple victories that could push even the biggest names in Indian sports into the realms of envy.

All of her talent, hard work and most of all dedication paid off when she took the gold in Istanbul by defeating Thailand’s Gothamas Jetpong in the WBC Final.

With the win, Zareen is now in the company of esteemed Sarita Devi, Lekha KC, Jenny RL and of course the legendary Mary Kom – who have all won the prestigious WBC Gold Medal.

No doubt winning her dream medal was special but one can only imagine the sheer pride and joy in Zarine’s heart as she received a heartfelt congratulatory letter from the legendary boxer herself after all these years.

For everything she went through, proving Mary Kom’s desire and admiration was sure to make her puff her chest with pride. Almost as much as when she kissed and petted the medal while standing on top of the podium two days earlier.

If anyone needs examples of life coming back full circle, they can certainly be cited in the case of Zarine’s rise to dominance. And what’s more? At 25, Nikat Zarin, India’s newest golden girl, has had the majority of her career ahead of her, and if past and present are something to go through, she has promised to be a captivating one.

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