Times when combat sports were considered to be masculine activity have passed long ago. Now it’s the chance for women to demonstrate their force and capabilities. As for muslin women, they have a great potential in international competitions of any level. That’s what Sara Kawthar wants to share with the entire world. 

 

What it means to be a strong woman?

The boundaries of acceptability, more mental then physical, surround the sphere of sports: the perception of women fighters is still different in many ways in comparison with men. While women used to carry out mostly  gymnastics, swimming and choreography, the common-sence beliefs and stereotypes remained and shared in a large part of the society. As we speak about Muslim world, it’s quite challenging for women in many countries to enter the gym for training, for example. “The media crafts this narrative that Muslim women are submissive all the time. So I understand why people might initially think that. Traditionally, Muslim women haven’t been involved in too many sports, let alone combat sports.”, – says Sara, the Instagram blogger. Many sport organisations, like  USA Boxing, place a ban on wearing hijab for fighing championships due to safety reasons. However, Sara believes that an opportunity to make boxing more culturally diversified exists.

Although Sara was grown in tolerant surrounding and didn’t face discrimination during competitions, she’s perfectly aware of overall situation and tendencies in women sports participation. “It’s amazing [for me] to meet women who at first felt terrified at the thought of going to the gym, let alone a kickboxing class, and then eventually go on to actually compete. The transformation is amazing.”, – that’s why she’s in love with her mission. Many Muslim women have already found a motivation with Sara’s support on Facebook page, that unites over 500 fighters all over the globe and around 2200 followers.

 

Mastering the skill

Australian professional Muay Thai fighter Carol Earl was the first woman Sara collaborated with. Carol admits that she faced some ultimatums from competition hosts for wearing hijab. “Even my own perceptions of Muslim women being in these types of sports were altered throughout the project. There are so many more fighting enthusiasts amongst Muslim women than I originally realized.”, – mentiins Sara. Apart from her blog, she recognized a lot of success in this sphere in Turkey and Morocco. The most exiting is the fact how women fighting is growing in Pakistan. “Women’s boxing was non-existent in Pakistan and is now blossoming all over the country with hopes of Pakistan sending a female boxer to the next Olympics. Egypt and Malaysia are grooming a lot of female Muslim MMA fighters.”

 

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