Issue 282, Friday 26 October 2012 - 10 Dhu al-Hijjah 1433
Eastender secures bronze Thai kickboxing title
By Elham Asaad Buaras
Ruqsana Begum has secured a bronze medal at the IFMA's Muay Thai Amateur World Championship
British Flyweight Muay Thai kickboxing champ Ruqsana Begum has secured a bronze medal at the IFMA’s Muay Thai Amateur World Championships in Russia last month.
Teams from across the world competed in the week-long tournament which kicked of in St Petersburg on September 5.
Fighting in the 45-48kg category, Begum beat Mauritius’s Ranini Cundasawmy but was beaten in a close fight against the European Champion Chyslova Liudmila from Belarus who went on to win silver.
Begum, who is of Bengali background, took up the sport at the age of 18 against the expectations of her family. She gained her first major medal at the World Amateur Championships in Bangkok in 2009 and went on to win a gold medal at the European Amateur Championships.
However, having retained the British title since November 2011 and previously won gold at the European Club Championships, the 29-year old has gained the support of her family and her fan base is steadily growing.
Speaking to The Muslim News Begum described securing a medal as “a hard battle” against competitors whose countries recognise Muaythai as a national sport.
“I felt confident going into the medal rounds but there was no denying that European Champion Chyslova Liudmila was always going to be tough competition. Although she beat me to take the silver I felt it was one of my best fights yet and I learned a lot from the technique I saw in the competition which I’ve carried through into my own fighting now. The competition was tough as I was never told who I was going to be fighting until the night before so preparation was difficult.”
Begum’s bronze medal is more impressive given the financial difficulty she faced in comparison to her competitors; Begum was fortunate enough to secure private donation from a property group and a furniture company.
“Unlike fighters from Eastern Europe who are paid to train and get prize money if they win, it is not Government funded so every fighter who goes has to pay their own way,” explained Begum.
Begum says the St Petersburg medal has made her a “more confident fighter.”
The Eastender is now considering competing in the Open Championships in Poland next month against the best fighters in the world.
(For more on Begum, refer to In Conversation with Ruqsana Begum, The Muslim News Issue 278)