The last few days have been a wave of excitement for Indian games. Which of the following great achievements of Indian athletes should be ranked first? There is no point in comparing brilliance, but India’s victory at the Thomas Cup certainly surpassed Nikath Zareen’s brilliant gold at the World Boxing Championships and R. Pragyananda’s victory over the year’s second world chess champion, Magnus Carlsen.
There are many reasons for that. One is the rarity of this achievement – it is India’s first Thomas Cup title and medal since 1979, while Nikath is India’s fifth world women’s boxing champion. Second, badminton is an ‘open’ sport in which there are no weight or height restrictions on competitors.
For more complex reasons for coming here, Indians compete in the best international events in sports that are not controlled by weight classes – track and field, or soccer, or tennis, or swimming, or rowing, for example. In this sport, your height, weight, strength and athletic ability are important. Since 1996, most of our Olympic medals have been associated with weightlifting (boxing, weightlifting, wrestling) and sniping.
Most notable are Neeraj Chopra’s javelin gold at the Tokyo Olympics, Leander Paes’ bronze in tennis in 1996, the men’s ice hockey team bronze in Tokyo 1996, and Saina Nehwal, our two badminton queens. And PV Sindhu.
Kitambi Srikanth has won all six of his Thomas Cup matches while HS Prannoy has won all five, two of which were thrilling duels that led India to quarter-final and semi-final victories. Lakshya Sen, feeling unwell during the game, did a good job of helping India to a 1-0 final. The importance of the pairing of Satviksairaj Rangireddy and Chirac Shetty in the doubles category cannot be overstated – their victory in the final was sensational. Without it, no success is possible – no, nothing can be isolated. It was a great team win.
Nikath, World Champion
Mary Gomez’s seduction transforms Nikat from a woman who earns her opponent’s respect into a ruthless fighter.
Shortly after being beaten by Mary Nicola Adams in the flyweight semi-finals at the London Olympics, she shook her head and said gruffly, “Aaj Bahut Mar Gaya” – “I was hit badly today”. Mary, India’s top female boxer, excels in the under 50kg weight class – she is only 5ft 2in tall and the optimal boxing weight class for her height is under 50kg. He has won six gold medals at world championships in the 45kg to 48kg category. There are no weight classes under 50 kg at the Olympic Games. Going to the Olympics in 2012 and 2021, Mary knew she would fight above her normal heavyweight, mostly against larger opponents – Adams, for example, is almost 3 inches tall. . So he could accept the fact that he was out.
However, it is difficult to accept that Mary is the second best in India. When she was beaten by Pinky Jangra Haryana in the 90lb quarterfinals at the 2009 Nationals, she was suspended for allegedly using the words “no game” against the judges. Pinky also beat him at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Mary later accused him of being discriminated against because he was from the North East.
Mary often expresses her loving innocence, but she also acts very lazily at times, often because of her fierce competition. That’s the nature of the beast – a confident Brooks of the Champions is no challenge. The face of women’s boxing in India that sows a thousand dreams in girls’ minds. Nikath was once such a woman. Then Nikath challenged Mary. Nikath wants a fair process to select a boxer for the Tokyo Olympics. Neither of them were to blame – boxing officials gave conflicting statements about the qualifying process.
But Mary didn’t like Nikita’s request. “Who is Nikath Zareen? I don’t know who she is,” said Mary, who won the fight in late 2019. Nikath later said that Mary used bitter words against herself during the fight. Mary left the ring without moving Nikita’s hand.
That was the turning point of Nikath. He grew up admiring Mary, and his idol’s disrespect hit him hard. But that didn’t destroy it.
When funded by a non-profit organization called JSW Sports, he worked alongside Ronald Sims, a former US Air Force team coach. According to Sims, after performing in front of Mary, Nikot went from being a woman who had great respect for her opponent to a strong and confident boxer mentally tough.
Nikath is now world champion. An athlete works every day of the year with a given plan and goals. That’s what makes outliers – Nikat took 13 years of hard work to get there. Many ordinary people shackled by depression or negative or empty burnout can learn from them.
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