Recognized as a Birmingham “Hometown Hero” last month, England’s first hijabi boxing coach is looking to bring equality and diversity across the sporting industry in the UK.
“I hope I am a symbol of change and equality across sports,” British-Pakistani boxer Haseebah Abdullah told Arab News in an interview this week.
“I hope that I am a good representation for young British-Pakistani women and for women in general.”
Based in Smethwick, Birmingham, Haseebah Abdullah was recognized as a ‘Hometown Hero’ by the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games for her “huge role in making the sport more inclusive”.
Her goal now is to bring equality across the entire sporting industry.
Haseebah began training at Windmill Boxing Gym as a young girl alongside her four older brothers. She has gone on to become one of the gym’s most respected coaches.
“Growing as a coach is what I wish to do, to provide the best guidance and support for the athletes I work with,” Abdullah said.
“I hope I can be a driving force in changing the attitudes and impressions people have of (boxing).”
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Abdullah hopes that she will be able to help young women consider boxing as a professional option and to advance her coaching career and gain international experience.
“No one should be judged or scored on their outer appearance, but solely on their athletic performance,” she said.
From running to boxing and football, the rise of inspirational Muslim women in sport is in full swing.
Researchers have consistently found significant positive effects of sports participation, both within Muslim communities and in the general population.
Specifically, organized physical activity promotes physical, psychological, and social wellbeing, leadership skills, and community involvement. Muslim women have used sports as a means to empowerment, working towards health and wellbeing, women’s rights, and education.