Muay Thai World Champ kept sport secret from family

Ruqsana Begum at the KO Muay Thai Gym in east London British Bangladeshi female boxer Ruqsana Begum, London, UK - 10 Sep 2015 - Mandatory Credit: Photo by Ben Cawthra/REX/Shutterstock (6908072f)

A World Champion Muay Thai kickboxer has opened up about how she kept her talent for the sport secret from her family for five years.

Ruqsana Begum, a 33-year-old kickboxer from a Bangladeshi Muslim family has spoken about her struggle to balance her faith and culture with the sport she is passionate about and even hide her trophies from family members.

Begum, who was brought up in Essex, is the captain of the British Muay Thai kickboxing team and current British and World Kickboxing Association Muay Thai champion in her weight category.

World champion Muay Thai kickboxer kept her sport secret from family for years
Ruqsana Begum is the captain of the British Muay Thai Kickboxing team (Picture: Ben Cawthra/REX/Shutterstock)

In an interview for the Like A Girl Can campaign Begum said: ‘Initially I hid the sport from my family but I realised I was living a double life.

‘I started training and I fell in love with it, it was fast and furious, however, I was afraid that my family would not allow me to pursue this sport which is why I kept it hidden from them.

She went on to say that she was only 18 at the time and came to realise that ‘very few women’ went to the Muay Thai gym where she trained, let alone ‘Muslim, Bangladeshi, Asian, petite, female’ kick-boxers.

However, she said she started to realise her father might have an inkling about her passion, after seeing one of her trophies he asked her: ‘Why do you walk like a boxer?’.

Leaving Begum ‘petrified’ because she felt an ‘inner conflict whether she was going against what she believed, her tradition, her family values’, something she battled with for several years.

Begum went on to design her own range of sports hijab to help ‘more Muslim women participate in sport’.

World champion Muay Thai kickboxer kept her sport secret from family for years
Begum with the sports hijab which she designed (Picture: Ben Cawthra/REX/Shutterstock)

The champ, who was awarded Sports Personality of the Year at the Asian Achievers Awards in 2013, has long been a keen advocate of getting more women, particularly Muslim women, into sport.

A champ in more ways than one. – Metro

You can follow BangkokJack on Facebook & Twitter. Email tips and suggestions to – Feel free to comment on story below

Generated image