Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Women in Gaza take up boxing regardless of social stigma

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Dec 4, 2020

Society within the Gaza Strip sees boxing for ladies as an instigator to violence towards their husbands sooner or later and has repeatedly slammed ladies for training it, in an try and get them to give up it.

Despite the obstacles, Gazan ladies have fought for his or her proper to follow boxing in a society that retains proving its patriarchal character before everything with its repeated refusal of ladies to take part in sports activities and different fields, limiting ladies’s roles to marriage and the home. 

However, some assist ladies’s rights to dwell their lives as they see match, so long as they don’t undermine traditions and norms.

Malak Mosleh, 15, has watched a number of boxing coaching and championships of boxer Muhammad Ali who made her fall in love with the sport when she was a baby. After many makes an attempt to discover a boxing staff in Gaza, she lastly obtained the alternative to comprehend her dream with the assist of her household.

She advised Al-Monitor, “I have long wanted to practive boxing but could not [in Gaza]. The sport was only open to men, which bothered me. After all, it is a sport for the body and soul, so why would women be banned from practicing it? I was surprised when Captain Osama announced a training program for girls. I joined seven months ago. I decided to continue until the end [to participate in the Arab Junior Boxing Championship in Kuwait], despite what society had to say about this.”

Osama Ayob, 36, the coach of the ladies boxing staff in Gaza, determined after a tour in a number of European and Arab international locations to create a boxing staff for ladies with out the assist of any celebration, at his personal expense.

In early 2020, he introduced by his Facebook web page the launch of a boxing coaching program for ladies. The staff was initially made up of 10 ladies, and continued to develop till it reached 45 women and girls aged between seven and 25.

Ayob advised Al-Monitor, “Forming a team of girls was difficult for me because it is the first one in Gaza, and it took personal effort without anyone’s support. There was a strong turnout of girls, and I really wished that society’s harsh view of them would change. I took it upon myself to protect them and toughen them against insulting comments that demoralize them and curb their desire to practice this sport.”

Mosleh stated, “Boxing has nothing to do with violence. It is a means of self-defense and body strengthening. I do not wait for anyone to protect me from an attack in the street or elsewhere. I am capable of protecting myself. My family is my biggest support, and they told me that Islam did not ban sports and encouraged me not to let social perceptions stand in the way of my dream. They reassured me that I am not doing anything religiously prohibited or harmful to social decency.”

Rima Abu Rahme, 22, from Gaza City had a tricky time when she took images of herself and her sister Rita, 20, whereas boxing with their feminine buddies and posted them on social media. It was the primary time she felt how harsh and resentful society was towards ladies’s sports activities in Gaza.

She advised Al-Monitor, “I follow [American-Palestinian model] Gigi Hadid [on social media] who practices this sport. I talked to Captain Osama to train, and we started effectively [learning the sport] until our photos during training went viral. We were scared of society’s comments, and some threatened to halt the sport and pressure the coach into that.”

This extreme assault on ladies on social media displays many individuals’s opinion that this sport is reserved for males and that ladies mustn’t follow it. Many ladies give up after social media customers threatened them and the coach, bullied them and insulted them.

Abu Rahme describes boxing, saying, “We felt fatigue and pain in our bodies for the first time, but we realized that our bodies become stronger after every exercise, and we later feel comfortable psychologically. I am a language graduate, and I have to do internships in institutions. The psychological fatigue I feel goes away with the punches within an hour of exercise.”

Ayob stated, “Many girls are under psychological pressure and face problems in society. They find boxing as a way to relieve the pressure, but their extreme fear of society forces them to train quietly without drawing attention. It is their right, with all the negative comments that threatened to stop boxing for girls in Gaza. I work assiduously on overcoming all obstacles and continuing training for this sport.”

Farah Abu Qomsan, 15, from Gaza City, took up boxing out of affection for it and a powerful want to meet her dream. She gained first place within the first boxing championship for ladies held in Gaza [on Nov. 20]. She joined Ayob’s boxing staff for ladies seven months in the past and devoted her time three days per week for follow to enhance her efficiency and reach the extent that qualifies her to take part in worldwide tournaments.

She advised Al-Monitor about her love for boxing, saying, “My admiration for the performance of world-class boxer [Mike] Tyson pushed me to commit to this sport after I found it in Gaza. I train to protect myself from situations that I might encounter while walking on the street and in anticipation of any accident I might face during my life. This has nothing to do with violence against men.”

Ayob is working onerous along with his staff to take part within the Arab Junior Boxing Championship in Kuwait on the finish of February 2021. He has already chosen seven ladies to participate within the championship, however he nonetheless wants official assist to pay for the airplane tickets and different travel bills. This could be the primary time ladies from Gaza take part within the championship as a part of a Palestinian nationwide boxing staff.

Meanwhile, the coronavirus pandemic has hindered coaching throughout the few months for the reason that first feminine boxing staff was established. Ayob stated, “Preparing the girls’ boxing team was not complete due to the coronavirus outbreak. But practice continued, and I focused on [strengthening] the girls’ strength while adopting preventive measures for their own safety and that of their families.”

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