KARACHI: For Hania Ali, a student of eighth grade at St Patrick’s Girls School, life is all about achieving laurels in the game of boxing.
The 13-year-old aims to become Pakistan’s version of Mary Kom, an Olympic Indian boxer.
The youngest of four siblings, Hania feels there is nothing Pakistani girls cannot do. If Mary Kom from India can win boxing medals, then why can she not achieve the same for Pakistan?
“Mary Kom is my ideal, she’s an inspiration to me and I want to be Pakistan’s Mary Kom,” said an ambitious Hania after a long training session at her club.
Mary Kom won five world amateur women boxing titles and a bronze medal in Olympics, becoming an inspiration for many girls.
Many consider boxing a dangerous sport, but Hania does not feel so about the game which she holds so dear.
“Why should I consider this sport as a dangerous one? People try to discourage girls by calling it dangerous, that is not the case,” she said while talking to Geo.tv.
“In fact, boxing also teaches you how to defend yourself.”
However, Hania is not the only one aspiring to become a boxer. There are several other women in Pakistan who are working day in and out, perfecting their skills at the sport.
Officials of Sindh Boxing Association say the number of women playing the sport is growing fast in Pakistan and hundreds of boxers are already registered in Sindh.
“Around 200 girls are actively participating in boxing in Karachi and every district is contributing towards the mission of promoting female boxing,” said Asghar Baloch, secretary general of Sindh Boxing Association.
“The sport is improving gradually and it is encouraging to see girls participating.”
He added that Aseefa Bhutto Zardari visited female boxing facilities recently and she has also encouraged girls to participate in the sport.
For girls in the ring, it is all about proving themselves as world beaters.
“I am from a family of boxers, my father and my brothers all are boxers so the game attracted [to the sport] from day one,” said another boxer, Maria.
“Initially there were fears, people would say girls shouldn’t come to this sport, but I defied everything and now I am eager to play for Pakistan.”
Pakistan Boxing Federation has recently announced to hold first-ever national boxing championship for women, a move that has encouraged female boxers.
Initially, the competition will be in three weight categories but girls are hoping for more opportunities.
“This is a good sign, we need more competitions, the more we play the better we get,” said Sara Baloch who is also likely to represent Sindh’s team in next month’s national women boxing championship.
“Female boxing is growing and it shows that girls of Pakistan can’t be stopped by barriers. We are here to show what we are.”
Pakistan’s female boxers, undoubtedly, are highly passionate about the game. They have shown the courage of opting for a sport which many would not even think due to fears of injuries and other social barriers.