Home News Product Reviews Health & Fitness Features Healthy Eating

Interview with Ruqsana Begum for Women’s Sport Report

Ruqsana Begum is the British female Muay Thai Champion who won bronze at the recent World Championships and was shortlisted for the 2012 Sports Woman of the Year award by the Muslim Women in Sport Foundation. However, as Women’s Sport Report discovers, these are just a few of Ruqsana’s achievements …

 

*Hi Ruqsana. First off, can you tell us a bit more about Muay Thai and explain how it differs from other forms of kickboxing?

Muay Thai originated in Thailand as a type of fighting used in warfare. It has since evolved into a popular combat sport across the world - also known as ‘the art of eight limbs’. Strikes are allowed not only with the fists - but also with the knees and elbows - and there are, of course, kicks.

*Muay Thai is an extremely physical sport - many considering it to be the toughest martial art. Is it common for participants to end up with bruises and broken noses?

I agree that it is it is one of the toughest forms of martial art and it requires a very high level of fitness. Fighters often end up with bruises and, especially when fighting professionally, there can be broken noses! This shouldn’t put people off the sport though as lessons are often well-regulated. It is important to remain focused at all times when training and fighting in order to try and out-skill opponents.

*Is it true that when you initially took up the sport you fought in secret as you were nervous about the reaction you would receive from your family and community (Ruqsana was born and raised in East London within a British Bengali Muslim family)?

Yes, I was nervous about the reaction from my family and the Muslim community as it is not a feminine sport and some say that it is not appropriate in my culture. However I have overcome these obstacles and since I’ve introduced Muay Thai to my family and community they now understand its many benefits - including encouraging discipline, determination, self-defence and good health.

*When you did tell your family and friends about your involvement in Muay Thai, how did they react? And are they now very proud of all of your achievements?

I told my family that I was practicing Muay Thai five years ago, soon after I graduated from University, as I strongly believed in what I was doing and wanted to continue. They have been very understanding ever since and their support has been invaluable - they were especially proud when I won the British title.

*Why would you encourage Muslim girls to get into sport, despite the cultural obstacles that they are likely to have to overcome?

Playing sport has numerous benefits and I am a firm believer in encouraging young people to get involved where possible. It helps you to have a healthier lifestyle, gain in confidence and feel happier!

*You’ve achieved so much – the British Atomweight Muay Thai Belt, gold at the European Cup in 2011, your bronzes at the Worlds – what’s been the highlight?

Winning the gold medal in Latvia was a highlight for me as I was fighting against national champions from all over Europe. I put in a lot of effort in that tournament as my coach was not there so I wanted to do him proud - as well as myself! I trained really hard in the lead up to the tournament and I was so happy that it paid off.

*Is it true that, in addition to your Muay Thai commitments, you’re a part-qualified architect, a part-time science technician, a personal trainer, a Muay Thai instructor and you give motivational speeches? How do you fit it all in?  

Yes, that is true! I really enjoy doing all of the above so I make sure that I have time for all of these activities. Each day brings a different interesting project and I am excited to see what the future holds.

*Finally, can you tell us a bit about your involvement with Fight for Peace – the charity that uses boxing to try to reduce levels of youth crime, gangs and gun violence within disadvantaged communities?

I teach boxing and Muay Thai classes at Fight for Peace, which allows young people to channel their emotions and apply themselves to sport. We also help with finding young people jobs though mentor programmes, which also takes them off the streets.

Thank you so much for talking to Women’s Sport Report, Ruqsana.  

For more information about Ruqsana please visit http://www.ruqsana-begum.com/ or follow her on Twitter @BritishMuayThai. For media enquiries please contact ENS Sports PR on 020 7934 9030.

Thank you so much, if you tweet or share
1994
Rowing for Success - GB's only Female Coach

Rowing for Success - GB's only Female Coach

For one coach in particular the silver won by her crew in France was even more special.

2332
Madison Saracen Athlete Manon Carpenter

Madison Saracen Athlete Manon Carpenter

National Champion, Junior World Cup Champion, Junior World Champion, World Championships medalists, international podium contender - Manon has notched up some great accolades since joining Madison Saracen in 2011.

1915
WSR catches up with International Umpire Gary Burgress

WSR catches up with International Umpire Gary Burgress

While the opening round of matches got under way, Womensportreport.com caught up with English international umpire Gary Burgess to find out why he got involved in the game. Interview by Rona Hunnisett

1379
Increasing interest in the Women's World Cup; comparison of interest between 2007, 2011 and 2015

Increasing interest in the Women's World Cup; comparison of interest between 2007, 2011 and 2015

The Women’s World Cup was established in 1991 many years after the Men’s World Cup started. Since it’s establishment millions enjoy the Women’s World Cup.

2193
Triple Threat: Coconut Oil vs Olive Oil vs Walnut Oil

Triple Threat: Coconut Oil vs Olive Oil vs Walnut Oil

Coconut Oil, Olive Oil and Walnut Oil – the three oils at the top of the healthy oil food chain will go head-to-head to finally see which one comes out on top.

1846
Women in Sport - 15 years and Still Going Strong

Women in Sport - 15 years and Still Going Strong

As co-owner of Radiator Communications, Gaby Jesson reminisces on 15 years as a woman working in the business of sport & fitness…. & shares a few things she’s learned along the way…

3635
New Jersey Swimmer Sarah Brennan Interview

New Jersey Swimmer Sarah Brennan Interview

15 year old Sarah Brennan talks to Chris Forbes

3144
Introducing Horse Trainer Dee Curry

Introducing Horse Trainer Dee Curry

They used to say that horse racing is a man’s sport, but woman like Dee Curry prove that thought to be completely wrong. 

2085
Nicol David Makes History As Longest-Reigning World No.1 Ever

Nicol David Makes History As Longest-Reigning World No.1 Ever

Amazing Sports Women!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

5731
Women Sport Report Feature Jockey Maria Remedio by Chris Forbes

Women Sport Report Feature Jockey Maria Remedio by Chris Forbes

Being a female in a male dominated sport is not easy. You have to have mental and physical toughness to be a jockey otherwise you will not be in the sport a very long time
5800
Cross Egypt Challenge

Cross Egypt Challenge

Cross Egypt Challenge" returns this November for the fourth year in a bid to promote Egyptian Tourism. August 1, 2014 - Alexandria
3776
The most relaxing song EVER?Scientifically proven to help you relax and sleep!!!

The most relaxing song EVER?Scientifically proven to help you relax and sleep!!!

In the realms of modern day late night ambient exploration Manchester's Marconi Union often draw comparisons with Brian Eno and Biosphere, perhaps Sigur Ros.
5318
 Women Sport Report’s Helen Keeling-Marston spoke to Fiona Oakes, the world’s fastest global marathoner.

Women Sport Report’s Helen Keeling-Marston spoke to Fiona Oakes, the world’s fastest global marathoner.

Hi Fiona. It’s safe to say that you take running to the next level! You currently hold the record for being the fastest woman to run a marathon on each continent and the North Pole in elapsed and aggregate time. Tell us more …
UP
Have you read it?
World Class Athlete Suzy Degazon tells her story

by Anthony Micheal Martinez

ISU World Cup Short Track Dresden GER

The fifth stop of the ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating Series 2015/16 concluded today in Dresden (GER) with the Ladies 500 m, second 1500 m and the Relay events.

Please follow us