Shaikh Nasreen

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Pugilist Nasreen qualifies for Boxing Tournament in Toronto,
but needs support to bag the gold.

By Nikhat Fatima
17-year-old Shaikh Nasreen has won the gold medal in the Indian professional Boxing League tournament in Madurai, Tamil Nadu in January 2019. And this victory has gained her entry in the World Rural Sports Organisation’s Boxing Tournament at Toronto, Canada to be held in December 2019 in the ‘under 19 ‘category. Nasreen, the youngest of the 3 children was inspired to learn boxing after watching Laila Ali on television when she was in class 8. At that time she used to go to play tennis with her friends and was thinking of excelling in tennis, but now her interest changed to boxing. And when she told her father, “Abba, I want to become a boxer”, he agreed just like that without any objection. Nasreen’s father, Shaikh Mastan and mother Shaikh Meera, are both tailors by profession. They run a tailoring shop on rent in Rajahmundry, East Godavari District, Andhra Pradesh. Their two sons and a daughter are all students in college.
Shaikh Nasreen with her parents
Mastan Shaikh got the contact of Omkar Yadav, an Asian boxer in Hyderabad and soon the father-daughter moved to Hyderabad in 2014. And Nasreen underwent rigorous training. Under Omkar, Nasreen won her first Gold Medal in the Telangana Boxing series in the lightweight category. After that, she went on to win several gold medals at the state level events.
But her training was for only 6 months in Hyderabad as they were finding it difficult to meet the expenses in the city. Finding a place to stay, commute, meet the dietary expenses and schooling was proving difficult with only her mother working because her father was with her. So they moved back to their home town. There again, her father began looking for another coach and soon found one in Razole, the neighbouring town. And Nasreen once again continued her training under Chandrashekar a local boxer who taught her all the nuances and the fitness regime. Many of her relatives and other Muslims in their town did not like Nasreen pursuing boxing as a career. They were of the opinion that this is not an ideal choice for a girl. But their conservative thoughts changed once Nasreen began winning. Says Nasreen, ” When they began to see me on TV taking part in the state level boxing events and saw that I was not only doing good, but also emerging as the winner, they started ringing us with words of encouragement and appreciation. In the last five years, Shaikh Nasreen has won 16 gold medals including 9 at the National level boxing in the lightweight category through her consistent practice. Right now she is in Delhi, coaching for her first International tournament at the Amjad Khan Boxing Academy under coach Naseem Ahmed. “I want to win at the International tournament and bring laurels to my country. I am inspired by Mary Kom who has won world championship 6 times” Nasreen told “But my training here is proving to be expensive and my parents are finding it very difficult to bear the expenses. Every month we have to shell out Rs.20,000/- and then there is the cost of my boxing kit.” She added thoughtfully.