First ever female boxer – Ambreen Sadiq from Keighley – will have her story told on stage

First ever female boxer – Ambreen Sadiq from Keighley – will have her story told on stage

TRAINER: Boxer Ambreen Sadiq

INSPIRATION: Boxer Ambreen Sadiq's story will be shared in a play

SPOTLIGHT: Boxer Ambreen Sadiq whose story is being brought to the stage

First published in News Keighley News: Photograph of the Author by , Bradford Chief Reporter

A WOMAN who became Britain's first female Muslim boxer is helping to train actors who are sharing her extraordinary story in a play.

Olympic hopeful Ambreen Sadiq, 20, is the boxing coach on a production to be staged in a Bradford gym in September.

Ambreen's decision to box meant she faced a large amount of prejudice, and even received death threats, from people who felt boxing was not something a Muslim girl should be involved in.

The story has inspired a play by the Common Wealth Theatre group called No Guts, No Heart, No Glory which will be performed at this year's Edinburgh Fringe Festival in a boxing gym.

It will then be showcased in Ambreen's own gym, Huggy's, in West Bowling, in September.

The group hopes the production will help inspire young Muslim girls to look beyond the stereotypes of what is expected of them.

Ambreen, of Keighley, has been training the actors for almost six months, to make the play as authentic as possible. It features a local cast of girls and stars Saira Tabasum, who won the British University Championships two years ago.

Ambreen, a former Shipley College student and national champion at age 16, said: "Initially I was contacted to do an interview about my life for a production about girls in boxing. I began to get more involved with the project and am now coaching the actresses so they know how to properly throw punches and the correct stances.

"An Asian girl or woman boxing is a huge thing in our culture especially when you are Pakistani and a Muslim, it’s seen as not very ladylike. The dress code dictates competitors wear vest and shorts – forbidden clothing for Muslim girls."

She said it was her father who encouraged her to get into boxing at a young age.

“I was told by some I was bringing shame on the community but I was determined to break down some barriers - and it’s my utmost wish that my story will help other young women to do the same.”

Director and producer Evie Manning said: "Coming from Bradford, I’ve always been very aware of the diversity within the Asian community and of how often young Muslim women are represented as submissive and passive. We wanted to make something that would push the expectations of young Muslim women."

Ambreen's former Shipley College tutor Mike Garrod said: "It’s so exciting that current staff and students will get the chance to see Ambreen’s dramatic story come to life. She is a fantastic ambassador."

The play is in Bradford from September 9 to 21. E-mail or call (01274) 233200 for further information.


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