Naz Gul, a karate champion and black belt from Balochistan, said she had to work extremely hard to be able to fulfill her dream of becoming a professional karateka.
In conversation with DW, Gul said that when she started practicing karate at a local training center, her family had no idea what she was doing.
Gul said that for about a month her father was completely unaware that she was learning martial arts at the academy.
“When my mum found out, she said ‘girls don’t go to workout clubs, they don’t train, and no one in our family has ever done anything like that. You should also stop doing it.”
Gul faced many difficulties, but she never lost hope and persevered in her efforts.
“I used to beg my parents to let me do the training,” she recalls.
Gul started training karate in 2008 and has been practicing ever since. Since 2015, she has represented Balochistan at the provincial level and is now a member of WAPDA and has remained undefeated to date.
Despite limited resources at his disposal, Gul was able to pursue his love for karate.
She, on the other hand, expressed her displeasure that she and her fellow karatekas were unable to compete in international tournaments.
“In other countries, athletes participate in at least two tournaments, but in Pakistan we have this opportunity once every three or five years,” she said.
“The more opportunities we have to participate in 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.
“Previously, people didn’t know about the game in the area, but now many girls have come forward and expressed their interest in indoor or outdoor martial arts,” Gul explained.
She said that while a huge barrier to pursuing this passion is the lack of facilities, that shouldn’t be used as an excuse by anyone who wants to start learning.
“Our manager created this club with his own money, and he’s a great example.”