Australian boxer Tina Rahimi has made history as the country's first-ever female Muslim boxer to compete at the Commonwealth Games. In an interview with The Business Standard, Rahimi shared the challenges she has faced as a Muslim athlete in the sport of boxing.
Rahimi's journey into the sport began in 2017 at a gym in Western Sydney, and by March of the following year, she had won the Commonwealth Games Australia Emerging Athlete of the Month award. However, as a devout Muslim, Rahimi has had to balance her faith with her rigorous training schedule. She prays five times a day and observes the dawn-to-dusk fasting during the ninth month of the Muslim calendar, which is particularly challenging to combine with boxing training and weight requirements.
"Training during Ramadan is really hard. You train before you start fasting. Then you go to the gym an hour after you've eaten," Rahimi told The Business Standard. "You're hungry but you have to control your desires with food because you can't eat too much, especially if you've got a competition."
Despite the challenges, Rahimi remains determined to succeed in the ring and inspire young Muslim girls to pursue their dreams. "I hope to break down barriers and stereotypes and prove that faith and sport can go hand in hand," she said.
When asked how she would handle those who oppose her participation in the sport due to her Muslim faith, Rahimi confidently stated, "I'd say, 'Got something to say?' Then, whack!"
Rahimi's dedication and discipline have not gone unnoticed by her cousin and coach, Muhummad Alyatim, who describes her as mentally and physically tough, and a great role model for female athletes.
Rahimi's victory in the Commonwealth Games qualifier not only secured her place at the 2022 event in Birmingham, but it also marked a significant moment for her faith. As Rahimi steps into the ring to compete in the 57kg division, she is breaking down barriers and making history in the world of sports.