Karate star Kulsoom wants women to follow her example

Three-time Asian champion defends her title once again in Colombo

Natasha Raheel November 13, 2017

KARACHI: Fresh from successfully defending her title at the South Asian Championship for the second year running, Kulsoom Hazara hopes that more women would use her as an inspiration and take up the underrated sport, karate.

Last weekend, the 28-year-old karateka bested her Asian competition in Colombo, Sri Lanka just like she had done the previous two years, a feat she is proud of no end.

Pakistani karatekas bring home glory

"It's definitely the biggest achievement of my career," Kulsoom told The Express Tribune. "There was a lot of tension, a lot of pressure on me before the championship. I kept thinking that I needed to prove myself again, I needed to become something bigger this time. I wanted to be the first Pakistani woman to complete a hat-trick of titles."

Looking back, Kulsoom says the -68kg final against a local Sri Lankan was naturally her toughest challenge of the competition admits that her matchup with an Indian rival in the earlier rounds wasn't easy either.

"Indian karatekas are improving and they give me a tough fight, but I overcame them earlier in the competition," said Kulsoom. "The final was against a Sri Lankan player, and with the crowd obviously cheering for their local champ, it was like I was fighting against everyone. The pandemonium was such that I failed to hear the referee twice, which earned me two fouls, but I made sure to get the job done."

Black belts and empty pockets

The final score was a staggering 10-2 in Kulsoom's favour.

Kulsoom, who hails from Quetta's embattled Hazara community but resides in Karachi, followed a family tradition of by picking up karate at a young age, and her interest in martial arts and self defence skills doubled when her brother in law was killed in a terrorist attack.

These life experiences and karate have taught her to be stronger in the face of adversity, which is why she wants more girls do what she does.

"Karate has changed me a lot," admits Kulsoom. "I used to get angry at everything, there was an attitude problem too, but then when I picked up this sport, I began to calm down. It became my anger management tool as well. It builds confidence too because when you start competing you also get the opportunity to meet different people."

While she is all for confidence and intermingling, Kulsoom also is a hijab taker, a habit she doesn't think affect her sporting ability one bit.

"I wear hijab, that is something I do for myself," she said. "It's personal, and sometimes people tell me that it might hinder my success, but it doesn't. When people see me they don't believe I can fight too, and that is the kind of stereotypes we have to break."


Madiha | 4 years ago | Reply Congrats Kulsoom ! Your parents must be so proud of you.
xena | 4 years ago | Reply love this! I get so happy when pakistani women make this country proud while fighting conservative realities. Make me feel super great and motivated. ps. a hijab is a piece of cloth. its not going to hinder this great woman's success in any way and shame on those who told her that.
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