WRITTEN BYShumaila Qureshi
In the history of Pakistan, any female boxer never stepped in to the international arena. But this will change soon when 3 Pakistani women boxers will represent Pakistan for the very first time in 12th south Asian Games in India.
Khoushleem Bano, Rukhsana Parveen, and Sofia Javed are on the verge of scripting history on Indian soil. When they step into the ring for the very first time in the 51, 60 and 75kg categories respectively. The trio boxers represent various clubs, notably from Lahore and Peshawar. They picked up boxing only in the early part of 2015 and were trained by their coach Nauman Karim — a bronze medallist at the 2003 World Boxing Championship — at Lahore, Islamabad and Peshawar for the multi-national sports event. They were later identified and included during the training camps set up by the Pakistan Boxing Federation (PBF).
Do you know: Mary Kom is the only women boxer who has distinction of being a five-time World Amateur Boxing Champion (Source: Wikipedia)
“We are coming with a women’s boxing team for the 12th South Asian Games (scheduled at Guwahati and Shillong from February 5-16). This is a reflection of our liberal society. And we are happy that our boxing and kabaddi teams will be making a beginning in India because it is like playing in our backyard,” Akhtar Nawaz Ganjera, Director General, Pakistan Sports Board (PSB).
Demonstrating the conservative culture – the Pakistani women boxers admitted that it was not an easy journey for them initially, when they informed their family and friends about their decision to take up boxing.
“There are a lot of anti-groups who don’t accept us. Initially, even our family and friends were not happy with us. But now everyone is supporting. Be it our government or the Boxing Federation,” Khoushleem said.
The Pakistani women boxers credited the biographical sports film on five-time world champion and Indian boxing icon Mary Kom as the biggest influence which has inspired them to take up a profession in boxing.
“My only dream was to represent Pakistan. I only want to make my country proud in the field of sports. I have achieved the first step despite all odds. I know it will be tough to fight with an experienced boxer like Mary Kom. But I am sure I will learn a lot from her in the boxing ring,” Said Bano
In recent times, Pakistani women are playing an active role in shaping the current society. Whether it may be in sports or as entrepreneurs such as Fiza Farhan, listed among the Forbes 30 under 30 social entrepreneurs. This decision of Pakistani women boxers will prove to be a positive step for a country that has suffered a lot in the fight against terrorism.
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