GAZA— At the only girls’ boxing club in Gaza, 15-year-old Farah Abu Al-Qomsan is practicing her moves, exchanging stabs and punches with other girls in training. with coach Osama Ayoub at the Palestine Boxing Center.
Since taking up the sport at the age of 9, Farah has found relief from the daily stresses of life in Gaza, a narrow coastal strip where some 2.3 million Palestinians live. blockaded by both Israel and neighboring Egypt.
“We used to practice in a small garage. Now we train by the full rules and release the bad energy,” said the 15-year-old, at the territory’s first women-only boxing center.
Six years ago, Ayoub, started with two girls. As more people join, they leave the garage and start practicing on the beach or in rented spaces before moving to the new club building.
“The girls are ready. I trained them hard for five years,” Ayoub said. “We are setting an example.”
Now, about 40 girls train at the center with its full-size boxing ring, training equipment and posters of boxing heroes like Mike Tyson on the wall, defying expectations in an area where boxing has traditionally been a men’s sport.
Farah said: “Some people used to say to me, ‘Why boxing, what do you get from it, learn something feminine’. “I benefited greatly from boxing and today my ambition is to represent my Palestinian people and participate in the world championships.”
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