Qatar's female boxer Afaaf Alqorane has earned quite a name for herself in this exciting sport. She grew up watching Muhammad Ali's boxing matches. Since she was seven years old, she dreamed of becoming a sportsperson. Her journey to becoming a boxer has been full of ups and downs, because she is Dyslexic and also because boxing is generally considered a man's sport, and her father found it difficult to accept that Afaaf, which means "modesty" in Arabic, had such a dream when she was growing up. So, she studied Physiotherapy and even worked as a Marketing Assistant for Nakilat from 2012 to 2013 before she became a professional boxer.
With time, her family, seeing her passion and her dedication to the sport, gave her their blessings and full support. In fact, she often wears the gloves gifted by her father!
The ILoveQatar.net (ILQ) team is bringing you an exclusive Q&A with Afaaf, who dreams of raising the flag of Qatar and waving it in the sky as one of Qatar's first female boxer.
Afaaf: It's an amazing feeling because it's the first time Qatar is being represented by a female boxer. It is kind of unique.
Afaaf: In the beginning, the Qatar Boxing Federation did not accept me because I was a female. But, I did some different procedures and processes and they took me on five years ago. I was supported by the women's community in Qatar a lot before I was given the green signal by the federation. Master Nasser, my coach and mentor, is the one who helped me the most and coached me to where I am today as part of Team Qatar.
Afaaf: Of course, being a woman in the world of boxing is hard but everything is getting better with time. There were no proper boxing academies for females before. I had to train with males and find a way to be respected by them.
Afaaf: I do specific exercises and different kinds of training for my hands, such as push-ups, etc.
Afaaf: I have a grandmaster from the Sultanate of Oman. His name is Mr. Nasser. He is the one who created the world of boxing for women in Qatar and he is the main reason that I stay motivated. Master Nasser was the first person to help me get up and box in the world.
Afaaf: My career highlight was in 2019 when I went to Oman for 25 days to train. We trained in the mornings and afternoons for 4 days a week. I took part in spiring training, which is a contact sport, to increase my skills in boxing.
Afaaf: I face all kinds of hardships head-on and I accept any difficulties that come my way. I believe women can do strong things when challenged. Master Nasser has also been very understanding and patient and has been a big factor in my life.
Video credit: Podcast Network Qatar
Afaaf: Boxing for me is a way of life, like fighting but in a good way. The sport has taught me never to give up, be respectful, disciplined, and patient. Also, this is a gift from God, and I must use it.
Afaaf: To have a lot of students (to coach in boxing). To help them to achieve their dreams and raise them in the universe of boxing. These are all my plans for the future.
Afaaf: My favourite sport besides boxing, I can say is football. I love football and I watch it seriously.
Afaaf: Patient. Hopeful. Lucky. Happy. Determined.
Afaaf: I am into photography. I am also a boxing coach experienced in developing and leading high-quality programmes dedicated to teaching women boxing and enhancing their skills in and out of the boxing ring.
Afaaf: My hobbies are watching football and dancing.
Afaaf: Cuba; because I get more knowledge about boxing and training when I go there.
Afaaf: My favourite foods are seafood and vegetables.
Afaaf: Stay healthy always and never give up!
Afaaf: If I want to send a message to Qatari women, I have to say: Don't just follow your dreams, chase them. As soon as you begin to pursue a dream, your life wakes up and everything has meaning.
Cover image credit: Afaaf Alqorane
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