A bout against bias: First boxing club opens doors to women in Gaza

Published on Jan 24, 2023 08:29 PM IST

The Palestine Boxing Center, located in the conflict-rooted lanes of Gaza, Palestine, has opened its doors to young women. Six years ago, head coach Osama Ayoub started with two girls. As more joined, they moved out of a garage and began training on the beach or in rented spaces before moving into a new club building. Now around 40 girls train in the center with its full-size boxing ring, training equipment, and posters of boxing heroes such as Mike Tyson on the walls, defying expectations in a region where boxing has traditionally been a sport for men.

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A young Palestinian girl warms up during a training session inside the first women's boxing center in Gaza City, on January 17. Boxing has helped young women find a release from the daily stresses of life in Gaza, a narrow coastal strip where some 2.3 million Palestinians live blockaded by both Israel and neighbouring Egypt. (Mohammed Salem / REUTERS) View Photos in a new improved layout
Published on Jan 24, 2023 08:29 PM IST

A young Palestinian girl warms up during a training session inside the first women's boxing center in Gaza City, on January 17. Boxing has helped young women find a release from the daily stresses of life in Gaza, a narrow coastal strip where some 2.3 million Palestinians live blockaded by both Israel and neighbouring Egypt. (Mohammed Salem / REUTERS)

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Young Palestinian women boxers during a practice session at the Palestine Boxing Center, in Gaza City, on January 17. Ayoub started the club with two girls. As more joined, they moved out of the garage and began training on the beach or in rented spaces before moving into the new club building, Reuters reported. (Mohammed Salem / REUTERS) View Photos in a new improved layout
Published on Jan 24, 2023 08:29 PM IST

Young Palestinian women boxers during a practice session at the Palestine Boxing Center, in Gaza City, on January 17. Ayoub started the club with two girls. As more joined, they moved out of the garage and began training on the beach or in rented spaces before moving into the new club building, Reuters reported. (Mohammed Salem / REUTERS)

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A 15-year-old Palestinian girl, Farah Abu Al-Qomsan, trains with coach Ayoub inside the Palestine Boxing Center, on January 17. "The girls are ready. I trained them hard for five years," Ayoub told Reuters. "We are setting an example." (Mohammed Salem / REUTERS) View Photos in a new improved layout
Published on Jan 24, 2023 08:29 PM IST

A 15-year-old Palestinian girl, Farah Abu Al-Qomsan, trains with coach Ayoub inside the Palestine Boxing Center, on January 17. "The girls are ready. I trained them hard for five years," Ayoub told Reuters. "We are setting an example." (Mohammed Salem / REUTERS)

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Young Palestinian women work on boxing moves during a training session at the Palestine Boxing Center, on January 17. (Mohammed Salem / REUTERS) View Photos in a new improved layout
Published on Jan 24, 2023 08:29 PM IST

Young Palestinian women work on boxing moves during a training session at the Palestine Boxing Center, on January 17. (Mohammed Salem / REUTERS)

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Young Palestinian women seen warming up during a training session at the Palestine Boxing Centre, on January 17. According to Reuters, around 40 girls train in the center with its full-size boxing ring, training equipment, and posters of boxing heroes such as Mike Tyson on the walls, defying expectations in a region where boxing has traditionally been a sport for men. (Mohammed Salem / REUTERS) View Photos in a new improved layout
Published on Jan 24, 2023 08:29 PM IST

Young Palestinian women seen warming up during a training session at the Palestine Boxing Centre, on January 17. According to Reuters, around 40 girls train in the center with its full-size boxing ring, training equipment, and posters of boxing heroes such as Mike Tyson on the walls, defying expectations in a region where boxing has traditionally been a sport for men. (Mohammed Salem / REUTERS)

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Teenage women boxers chat during a break from training at Gaza's first boxing center for women, on January 17. (Mohammed Salem / REUTERS) View Photos in a new improved layout
Published on Jan 24, 2023 08:29 PM IST

Teenage women boxers chat during a break from training at Gaza's first boxing center for women, on January 17. (Mohammed Salem / REUTERS)

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Farah Abu Al-Qomsan during a warm-up at the Palestine Boxing Center, on January 17. “We used to train in a small garage. Now we train according to the full rules and release bad energy," she tells Reuters. (Mohammed Salem / REUTERS) View Photos in a new improved layout
Published on Jan 24, 2023 08:29 PM IST

Farah Abu Al-Qomsan during a warm-up at the Palestine Boxing Center, on January 17. “We used to train in a small garage. Now we train according to the full rules and release bad energy," she tells Reuters. (Mohammed Salem / REUTERS)

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Farah and other young Palestinian women seen at the Palestine Boxing Center, on January 17. "Some people used to tell me 'Why boxing, what are you going to benefit from it, go and learn something girly'," Farah told Reuters. "I benefit a lot from boxing and today my ambition is to represent my Palestinian people and take part in world championships." (Mohammed Salem / REUTERS) View Photos in a new improved layout
Published on Jan 24, 2023 08:29 PM IST

Farah and other young Palestinian women seen at the Palestine Boxing Center, on January 17. "Some people used to tell me 'Why boxing, what are you going to benefit from it, go and learn something girly'," Farah told Reuters. "I benefit a lot from boxing and today my ambition is to represent my Palestinian people and take part in world championships." (Mohammed Salem / REUTERS)

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