Tue 24 January 2023:
Farah Abu Al-Qomsan, 15, practices her punches and jabs with the other girls training with teacher Osama Ayoub at the Palestine Boxing Centre, Gaza’s sole female boxing club.
Since starting the sport at the age of nine, Farah has discovered a way to cope with the pressures of daily life in Gaza, a small coastal region where 2.3 million Palestinians live under Israeli and Egyptian blockade.
“We used to train in a small garage. Now we train according to the full rules and release bad energy,” the 15-year-old girl, at the territory’s first women-only boxing center.
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Six years ago, Ayoub, started with two girls. As more joined, they moved out of the garage and began training on the beach or in rented spaces before moving into the new club building.
“The girls are ready. I trained them hard for five years,” said Ayoub. “We are setting an example.”
Now around 40 girls train in the centre with its full-size boxing ring, training equipment and posters of boxing heroes such as Mike Tyson on the walls, defying expectations in a region where boxing has traditionally been a sport for men.
“Some people used to tell me ‘Why boxing, what are you going to benefit from it, go and learn something girly’,” Farah said.
“I benefit a lot from boxing and today my ambition is to represent my Palestinian people and take part in world championships.”
SOURCE: INDEPENDENT PRESS AND NEWS AGENCIES
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