Strandja Memorial Boxing: Nikhat Zareen, Nitu strike gold for IndiaFebruary 28, 2022
Indian boxers Nikhat Zareen (52kg) and Nitu (48kg) struck gold at the 73rd Strandja Memorial Tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria by notching up thoroughly comprehensive victories in their respective finals on Sunday.
Nitu prevailed 5-0 over Italy’s Erika Prisciandaro, a former youth world championship bronze-medallist. Zareen, on the other hand, outpunched Ukraine’s Tetiana Kob, a three-time European Championships medallist 4-1.
While Nitu produced a wonderful counter-attacking performance by taking full advantage of her longer reach and taller frame, Zareen was engaged in a draining and messy bout which had its fair share of clinching, holding and even some tumbling over in the ring.
The Hyderabad-based Zareen, who is a multiple-time national medallist, had won a gold medal at the Strandja Memorial’s 2019 edition as well. Nitu is a two-time former youth world champion and is also a former gold-medallist at the Asian youth championships.
The 21-year-old hails from Haryana’s famed cradle of Indian boxing, Bhiwani’s Dhanana village. The youngster was introduced to boxing by her father, who took a three-year leave without pay from his state government job to help her get coaching in her formative days.
He eventually rejoined work in Chandigarh when she started doing well at the international level. India won two medals in the last edition with Deepak Kumar and Naveen Boora securing silver and bronze respectively.
The performance of the men’s squad was underwhelming this time with none of the seven in fray managing to enter the medal rounds.
In all, the tournament featured over 450 boxers from 36 countries, including traditional powerhouses such as Kazakhstan, Italy, Russia, France and Ukraine, where Russia launched a military operation on Thursday despite global appeal for restraint.