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Female martial artist
April 9, 2020

As a female martial artist, this COVID-19 outbreak has resulted in my local sport centre closing for the foreseeable future. My 12 years learning the art of karate has taught be discipline, determination, strength and courage, but as a Muslim woman doing this full-contact sport, I have been seen to break boundaries whilst some people comment negatively on my sport.

If anything, those people who comment in a degrading way about my sport do not understand the potential damage they could cause and instead, should appreciate that a young Muslim woman is breaking these cultural expectations and opening the door for many more girls to do any sport. Sport does not discriminate against girls or Asians. Sport brings people together and often gives an individual a sense of belonging and freedom.

With the outbreak of this virus, I have tried to maintain my training outside of my sports centre and train in the garden for an hour. I’ve spent 12 years building up my reputation and my skills in the art of karate and do not want to waste any of that time or effort. Not only does it keep me fit, but it allows me to better my mind set for everyday life as well; to control my emotions, to be disciplined, to understand that the mind and the correct mind set results in the best outcome.

I’m breaking these cultural expectations because sport does not discriminate. We should empower each other, and I want to be a figure to empower women and especially those who identify with me. Together we can make a change and create and impact and break these cultural expectations and ideals about women in sport.

This COVID-19 outbreak has made me realise more that I appreciate my sport and want to give back to other women out there and help make a difference.

Let’s go, ladies!

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