Naz Gul, a karate champion and Black Belt from Balochistan, said she had to work extremely hard in order to be able to follow her dream of becoming a professional Karateka.
In conversation with DW, Gul said that when she first started practising karate at a local training centre, her family had no idea what she was doing.
Gul said that for about a month, her father was completely unaware that she learning martial arts at the academy.
“When my mother found out, she said that “girls do not go to training clubs, they do not train, and no one in our family has ever done anything like this. You should also stop doing it.”
Gul faced a lot of difficulties, yet she never gave up hope and persevered in her efforts.
“I used to beg before my parents to let me go for the training,” she recalled.
Gul began karate training in 2008 and has been practising ever since. Since 2015, she has been representing Balochistan on a provincial level and is now a member of the WAPDA and has remained unbeaten to date.
Despite having limited resources at her disposal, Gul was able to pursue her love for Karate.
She, on the other hand, expressed dissatisfaction with the fact that she and her fellow karatekas are unable to compete in international tournaments.
“In other countries, athletes go to at least two tournaments, but in Pakistan, we are given this opportunity once every three or five years,” she said.
“The more opportunities we have to play international tournaments, the more experience we will gain,” she added.
Due to Gul’s dedication and determination to pursue her ambition, many other young women in Balochistan — who wish to learn Karate — have been inspired to follow in her footsteps.
“Earlier, people were not aware of the game in the region, but today, many girls have come forward and expressed an interest in indoor or outdoor martial arts,” Gul explained.
She stated that even though, a huge barrier to pursuing this passion is the lack of facilities, it should not be used as an excuse by anyone who wants to start learning.
“Our trainer started this club with his own money, and it is a great example.”