As a young woman from a Bangladeshi, Muslim family, Ruqsana struggled for years to balance her faith and culture with the fast, furious and brutal sport she fell in love with - even hiding her trophies. Now she's fighting to help other young Muslim women to find their own balance between fitness and faith.
Ruqsana's story is a tale of empowerment that will inspire anyone who has ever had to battle against the odds and against all the opposition to achieve their goal.
With the reluctant blessing of her parents, she completed a long journey to the top, battling against prejudice, depression, panic attacks and ME.
A role model to many, she was part of the Adidas Here to Create campaign and Karen Millen's #WomenWhoCan campaign.
You can listen to Ruqsana on the Tough Girl Podcast - new episodes are every Tuesday and Thursday at 7am UK time, make sure you hit that subscribe button so you don’t miss out.
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Listen to Ruqsana Now!
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Who Ruqsana is
Growing up watching Bruce Lee and being fascinated by the martial arts
Getting into kickboxing at 18 years old
Growing up in London in a muslim family
36 years old and growing up in the 80s
Being restricted in what she could do
Discovering kickboxing while at college
Studying Architecture at university
Training in a mixed gym
What she loved about going to the gym
Wearing a hijab to the gym
Having the conversation with her parents
Having an arranged marriage
Dealing with panic attacks and depression
Being suppressed in her marriage
Becoming numb and how sports changed her life
Discussing mental health issues
Having the support of her GP
Dealing with Chronic Fatigue and ME
Napping during the day
Starting to fight professionally in 2008
Going for the British Title!!
The Warrior Princess
What it was like getting into the ring
Starting to master her own fears and emotions
Is she a born fighter…
Being supported by her parents
Religion and fighting
The legalities of wearing a hijab when competing
Not being allowed to wear leggings
Designing a hijab for muslim women to wear while doing sports
Becoming the World Kick Boxing Champion!
Having nothing left in the 4th round
Mental resilience and mental toughness
Making the transition from kickboxing to boxing in January 2018
Funding her lifestyle as a professional athlete
Writing her book - Born Fighter
Handling the negative people
Why other peoples opinion of you don’t matter
Her dream to become a world champion in boxing
Wanting to inspire people
Final words of advice for other women going through challenging times
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