Women boxing in Sudan is a rare spectacle, but a group of Sudanese women are putting on some muscle to punch through the stereotype.
Being a conservative country governed by Islamic law, boxing in Sudan is considered a sport for men.However,in the Nile Boxing Club, four young Sudanese women determined to go bare-knuckles against the prejudice, and fully live their passion for the sport.
“The community looks at you as off-beat, especially when you select an activity such as boxing. When you meet someone and they recognizes that you are a boxer, they will propose that you practice something else like tennis or volleyball,” says Arafat Abkar, a female up-and-coming Sudanese boxer.
Four years ago, women’s boxing was still unknown in Sudan when Sahar Mohamed took up the sport and represented her country at the All Africa Games last year.
Another boxer Sahar Mohamed said: “I have participated in local matches and the African championships in Congo. We are now preparing for any future championships and we will perform well for Sudan. We are constantly practicing and we are intensifying our training.”
To encourage these up and coming champions, the amateur boxing federation of Sudan has availed a coach for them, with a mission, to build a national team.
Abkar’s coach, Mohamed Yusuf has trained both men and women and said there is a lot of potential for both in the sport.
“From my capacity as a national team coach, the boxing federation asked me to concentrate on female boxing and give it more attention hoping that it can improve in a short time and we can participate in local and foreign competitions for Sudan,” said the coach.
Although these girls dream of successful careers as they look up to Laila Ali, daughter of the legendary boxer Muhammad Ali, the development of the sport is still in need of financial resources.