Hyderabad-based boxer Niharika Gonella thinks the best is yet to come
Strong, spirited and determined, Hyderabad-based Niharika Gonella prefers going solo in her journey – on her own terms and steam. Perhaps, that was the reason behind her moving to boxing in 2014 under coach Venkateshwara Rao’s guidance. The lone ranger initially played volleyball and gymnastics before deciding to settle with a sport that most think is the domain of men. However, this 17-year-old has successfully broken stereotypes by stacking up medals in just a year after her start – two silver medals each at Aiba Jr. Women World Boxing Championship and 5th Nations Cup in Taipei and Serbia, respectively.
Niharika, who won a silver in the 75 kg category at The XXXI International Youth Men & Youth Women Ahmet Cörmet Boxing tournament in Istanbul last month, thinks the best is yet to come. While she is proud of her achievements, she is also a self-critic, especially during her failures. “There are ups and downs for everyone. But I take failures quite seriously. It takes me a few hours to tell myself that there’s much more to come,” shares the boxer.
Interestingly, among Niharika’s inspirations like Usain Bolt and Claressa Shields, are two other young women boxers closer home – her sister Naganika Gonella and 21-year-old Nikhat Zareen from Nizamabad. “Nikhat’s persistence towards the sport is inspiring. Unlike a lot of boxers who stay away from the ring after a shoulder injury, Nikhat is back in action,” says Niharika.
Daughter of a national handball player Shreeram Gonella, Niharika has always been told to strike a balance between the sport and her education, which she does by studying in her free time. “I pursue private education and take tuition. I also love reading books. My favourite author is Charles Dickens,” she explains. For 2018, the ambitious boxer is looking forward to the Youth Olympics and World Championship.