“Am I trending on Twitter?” How Nikhat Zareen reacted after being crowned World Champion; father recalls taunts on ‘shorts’

0

India’s Nikhat Zareen created history by winning the Women’s World Boxing Championships in Turkey. By doing so, Zareen has become only the fifth Indian woman to achieve this coveted feat on Thursday. Zareen defeated Thailand’s Jitpong Jutamas 5-0 in the flyweight division of the championship. Soon after creating history, the champion boxer from Nizamabad in Telangana sheepishly asked reporters, “Am I trending on Twitter?” Her father, Mohammad Jameel, who himself has been a sportsperson, painfully recalled the taunts that her daughter received for wearing shorts.

“That was my dream to trend on Twitter and if I am trending, I am really happy,” Zareen was quoted as saying on NDTV.

Zareen indeed trended with top names from Indian politics and corporate sector congratulating the country’s newest sporting sensation. President Ram Nath Kovind tweeted, “Heartiest congratulations to Nikhat Zareen for the gold medal at Women’s World Boxing Championship. The nation is proud of her. I am confident that her success will motivate our youth, especially girls to realise their dreams. I wish she continues bringing laurels to the country.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote on Twitter, “Our boxers have made us proud! Congratulations to @nikhat_zareen for a fantastic Gold medal win at the Women’s World Boxing Championship. I also congratulate Manisha Moun and Parveen Hooda for their Bronze medals in the same competition.”

Industrialist Naveen Jindal tweeted, “We have a new World Champion! Heartiest congratulations @nikhat_zareen on winning the Gold medal? at the Women’s World Boxing Championships. India?? is proud of you.”

Bharat Ratna Sachin Tendulkar tweeted, “Such a proud moment for all of us.Many congratulations to you @nikhat_zareen for winning Gold at the Women’s World Boxing Championships.”

Recalling the taunts his daughter faced for wearing shorts, father Jameel said that people would often raise objections to a Muslim girl wearing shorts to play sports. He, however, said that the family soon learnt to ignore them. “But when she won the youth championship, people changed their minds and said she’d proven herself,” Jameel was quoted as saying by BBC.

This is India’s first World Championship Gold since Mary Kom won in 2018. Zareen had lost to Olympic medallist Kom during the trials and could not represent India at the last year’s Tokyo Olympics.