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Egypt’s first MMA fighter blazes trail for more women

Jan 10, 2021

Egypt’s first female combined martial arts (MMA) fighter has broken social stereotypes by pursuing a male-dominated sport and is now encouraging other females to agree to suit.

“I started in 2000 as a karate participant and took the brown belt. Then I joined the Kung Fu nationwide group and obtained competitions with the group. When I succeeded within the sport, I determined to continue with them as effectively as join other identical sports activities,” Aya Saeid, 29, urged Al-Tune.

Then, Saeid, aka Sheklesa, met captain Mohamed Abdel Hameed who began the MMA sport in Egypt and established the Top Group. “He’s a huge mentor and I hang always looked up to him. He educated me till I competed in world competitions,” Saeid said.

The Top Group is a combined martial arts group, educated by Abdel Hameed. Saeid is the handiest girl within the group and the predominant girl to enter the sport in Egypt.

Saeid, who has a husband and a daughter, faced many challenges once she determined to agree to the sport, as she used to be residing in an underprivileged and truly conservative neighborhood where she used to be discipline to a lot of criticism.

“They were telling me that I am cherish a particular person and not a lady. At cases I got deeply sorrowful, but my father always supported me and he inspired me to preserve going,” she said.

Saeid just is not very handiest an MMA fighter, but she is additionally an global coach. Three years ago, she began teaching courses that qualify females as opponents and coaches.

She additionally taught a entire lot of courses in self-protection to back girls protect themselves towards sexual harassment or any roughly violence.

“I stop not handiest desire to resolve part and acquire global competitions, but I additionally desire to inspire other females who hang a passion to agree to suit and discipline up the predominant [female] MMA group in Egypt,” she said.

MMA is a barely unique sport that began within the United States in 1993, and it mixes other forms of martial arts with all modes of striking and wrestling.

Gloves and a toothpick bo staffs are the 2 authorized instruments for an MMA fighter for the duration of a match, which consists of three rounds of five minutes every with a minute wreck in between.

The match ends with a knockout, renounce or a resolution by the referee.

“It’s not an straightforward sport. It’s some distance terribly exhausting and it needs passion, but I hang viewed many females who’re eager about MMA,” Saied said. “Ladies people can hang to clean be given a chance to enter any discipline they cherish as a result of they’ll stop anything else so long as they’ve the passion for it.”

According to the 2015 World Gender Gap Index, Egypt ranks low in gender equity compared to other international locations worldwide. 

The index, which measures disparities between males and females for the duration of international locations, ranked Egypt at 136 out of 145 international locations. It reported that females hang drastically lower participation within the labor force than males — 26% versus 79%.

“Ladies persons are clean underrepresented in workplaces in favorite and sports activities in explicit and the extend of their representation would not handiest profit those females socially and economically but additionally would profit the insist,” said Randa Fakhr el-Deen, a females’s rights activist and executive director of the Union on Spoiled Practices Against Ladies people.

She urged Al-Tune that having those females combating for a feature in sports activities and the feature of enterprise would step by step wreck the social stereotypes and extend females’s representation in Egyptian society.

Saeid aspires to hang her bear academy where she can recount extra females within the sport and enable them to protect themselves in any discipline of violence or sexual harassment.

A 2017 Thomson Reuters Foundation poll chanced on Cairo to be the most lethal megacity for females, and a United Nations’ see in 2013 chanced on that over 99.3% of females had experienced harassment in Egypt, a nation where females hang long felt disadvantaged.

“I desire females to not handiest agree to the sport but additionally develop it a part of their lives as a strategy of defending themselves in any discipline,” Saied concluded.

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