Muslim Hyderabadi girl Boxing her way to World title | Siasat Hyderabad, May 03: Three years ago, when she was just 12 years old, Nikhat Zareen accompanied her uncle to the Sports Authority of India centre in Nizamabad to learn boxing. She was the only girl there. â€œShe was very young when she wanted to box,â€ recalls Nikhatâ€™s uncle, Samsamuddin, who is also the Nizamabad district boxing coach. The family tried to stop her at first, but when her cousins, Etheshamuddin and Itishamuddin, both international pugilists, encouraged her, they eventually gave in. â€œAs a Muslim girl, it was a tough choice to make as everyone questioned what I was doing in the boxing ring. There were almost no female boxers where I trained in Hyderabad, and I was often alienated,â€ says Nikhat. But all her efforts have finally paid off. Nikhat, along with three other Indian women pugilists â€” Lalenkawli, Sarjubala Devi and Minu Basumatary â€” won the gold yesterday at the AIBA Womenâ€™s Youth and Junior World Championship held in Antalya, Turkey. As 15-year-old Nikhat clenched her fists and fell to her haunches during the final of the 50 kg bout, after beating home favourite Ulku Demir 27-16, the difficult choices seemed worth every hurdle. â€œMy parents and brothers supported me. I could not have done this without them,â€ she says. â€œWe knew it was going to be very difficult to break the shackles of society,â€ says her proud mother, Parveen Sultana. â€œBut I knew that if anyone could do it, it would have to be Nikhat. She did not throw tantrums like the other girls and she had a manâ€™s dedication to her sport. Even we would treat her like a boy,â€ she says. â€œShe used to train with the boys as she was quite adamant about proving her point. With the medal, she has proved that everyone is equal in the field of sport,â€ says Samsamsudin. The family was not well-off. When she was just a child, Nikhatâ€™s father, Mohammad Jameel, took up a job in Saudi Arabia. While her three sisters chose academia as their way out of poverty, Jameel recalls how some sections of society ridiculed his family for allowing Nikhat to participate in a â€œmanâ€™s sportâ€. â€œShe has made the entire nation proud today, not just our family and community. We all knew that it wouldnâ€™t be easy, but Nikhat has always been one to break tradition. Iâ€™m overjoyed that it paid off for her.â€ While Nikhat had her extended family to turn to, Lalenkawliâ€™s parents were small-time farmers in Lawngelai, a tiny hamlet in Mizoram. The only decent training centre was 300 kilometres away in Aizawl, a journey that the 15-year-old was more than willing to make four years ago.