Connector In Conversation With Fahima Falaknaz: UAE's First Female Emirati Boxer

Fahima Falaknaz, the trailblazing Emirati female boxer, embodies the essence of feminine strength and resilience. Despite societal expectations, she embraced her passion for boxing at 34, defying norms to become the UAE's first female boxer. In an interview with Connector, Fahima shares insights into her journey, recounting the challenges she faced and the determination that propelled her forward. Her story resonates with the beauty of womanhood - being in touch with her feminine side while using the power to conquer the world through talent and unwavering determination.

In the world of sports, particularly boxing, where male icons like Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson dominate, Fahima Falaknaz defied norms and pursued her dreams relentlessly. Becoming the first Emirati female boxer at 36, she shattered barriers in a male-dominated industry. Fahima shares her journey, from daring to dream in an unconventional career to carving her place in the ring.

Life While Growing Up And How Did It All Start

Growing up as the eldest girl in a family of eight in a conservative Emirati household, Fahima's journey was marked by unique thoughts and early independence. Fahima ventured into sports, starting with karate at age 7 alongside her siblings. While her dream of becoming a television presenter persisted, her love for sports flourished. Despite discontinuing karate due to academic commitments, Fahima's admiration for Bruce Lee ignited a passion for sports activities in school. From volleyball to basketball, she embraced every opportunity, paving the way for her remarkable journey as a trailblazing athlete.

Adding to this, Fahima says, "I started liking martial arts at a very young age and used to watch WWF and other such shows. My role model was Bruce Lee, and I loved watching his movies. In fact, I was looking to learn kung fu, but because of cultural restrictions, I couldn't take it any further."

However, the aspiration to excel in sports lingered in Fahima's mind as she graduated. Fate took its course, and while working, Fahima found herself drawn back to boxing as she began training at the gym.

Sharing this incident, Fahima says, "After graduation, I landed a job, I had my car and resumed training, trying out various personal trainers. When boxing was introduced at my gym, I knew it was my moment. Starting with group classes, like box-fit, my passion for the sport ignited. My skills progressed rapidly, sparking encouragement from gym partners to pursue boxing professionally. Initially, I didn't consider it seriously, but over time, I realised the potential I had. With guidance from a boxing coach who recognised my talent, I became better at boxing and it was my coach who asked me to fight professionally and become the first Emirati boxer from the UAE."

At 34, Fahima initially brushed off her coach's advice but later took it seriously, embarking on rigorous training at a new gym under his guidance. Despite facing setbacks with her first two fights being cancelled, Fahima continued. 

Fate showed its magic when the UAE Boxing Federation approached her, marking a turning point in her journey. From that day forward, Fahima remained firm, determined to pursue her dream of becoming the first Emirati female boxer. 

Fahima Falaknaz Wins Asian Women’s Boxing Championship In Thailand

In April 2019, Fahima made history as the first Emirati woman to participate in the Asian Women’s Boxing Championship in Thailand. Achieving all this while maintaining full-time employment, Fahima dedicated herself entirely. From dedicating 2 to 3 hours daily to her training, to coaching young children, while not getting enough sleep, she balanced it all with unwavering commitment.

Sharing her winning experience, Fahima smiles and adds, "It was an incredible feeling. Our initial training camp took place in Uzbekistan, followed by Thailand before the Asian Championships. It was challenging, but I refused to let fear or negative thoughts consume me, as this journey was my choice. I made a commitment to myself that once I stepped into the ring, I would give it my all, regardless of the outcome. Embracing this mindset, I embarked on the experience wholeheartedly. Making my country and family proud was immensely gratifying, allowing me to give back to the nation that has provided me with countless opportunities."

Locals Lauded Fahima's Win

The victory was destined for Fahima. Despite cultural constraints and the pressure of being the first to represent her country in boxing, she strived, refusing to let age or stereotypes hinder her. Though her family feared for her safety, they remained fiercely proud of her achievements. Following her triumph, Fahima received overwhelming support and congratulations from the local UAE community, who embraced her win wholeheartedly.

Fahima Continues To Inspire Women By Teaching Boxing 

Fahima may have stepped away from the ring, but her focus now is on inspiring children, particularly girls, to take up boxing. Fahima believes in its power to not only cultivate physical strength but also to strengthen the mind. Fahima adds, "Train and learn boxing not to fight, but for yourself, to become stronger and to strengthen your mind. It's an empowering feeling."

Message For Young Girls 

"For girls, navigating through emotional challenges is tough. It's crucial to be self-aware, process your feelings, and not let others' opinions bring you down. Trust yourself more than anyone else. Not all advice is right for you, so stick to your values and goals. Stay focused on what matters to you in life, even if you're aware of what others are doing. Always prioritise your path and understand your desires."

Furthermore, Fahima adds, "Respect your family, don't be a rebel, yes, you will face challenges, but always try to work around them."

How Does Fahima See The Landscape Of Sports Changing For Women 

Fahima emphasises that change begins with action. As a woman, instead of just talking or asking for it, demonstrate your capabilities through your actions. Focus on what you do. While initially, you might face challenges getting to competitions, once you showcase your skills, respect will follow. 

For young women, Fahima adds, "Believe in yourself and take the first step. Every step you take will lead you somewhere. There will be obstacles, but you will learn how to surpass them."

Life At Present

Fahima has transitioned to working in a sailing academy, where she's exploring the world of sailing. Her new goal is to sail around the world, and with her hard work and determination, we have no doubt she will excel in this field too.

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