High hopes for Turkmenistan's first lady of Kickboxing
08 September, 2017 (12:09)
In a large gymnasium in the suburbs of Ashgabat, Farida Kutlimuradova, gets ready to train. She is the only woman Kickboxer among dozens of men at the training session. She is not the only woman on the national team, however, but one among only a few.
Farida, who is 30 years old, came to the sport late in her sporting career.
“At the 4th Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, I took part in Muaythai and, while I was there, I saw Kickboxing for the first time,” she said. “I have been Kickboxing ever since.”
The 30 year old from Dasoguz, a student at the National Institute of Sports and Tourism of Turkmenistan, said she cannot live without sport.
“The first sport I got into was Karate. I have a black belt,” said Farida, who took up Karate in 1997.
When she decided to switch to Kickboxing, Farida said she was very happy that the coach included her early on the national team.
“I was the first girl who participated for Turkmenistan,” she said. “I have been training for four years already. I have proved to people that I can perform.”
And perform she can. Farida has won three international titles this year in the -56kg weight: the Asian Championship in Ashgabat and tournaments in Riga and Tbilisi. The diminutive kickboxer has many other titles from previous years under her belt too. She attributes the wins to her hard hitting punches which has come from training with the men.
“I box only with men. I watch them to see how to box correctly,” she said. “They treat me like one of them in training which is very good practice.”
While she can take the hits from the men, she can throw it right back at them too. “Guys learn from my kicks” she said with a grin.
Farida’s training has intensified as the Games draw near and she has set herself a high target.
“I want to take first place,” she said. “I'll fly into the sky for joy if I win. I will cry.”
And she wouldn’t stop there adding that “I want to be a champion of Asia and the World”.
Farida wants to go into law enforcement once she graduates so anyone who messes with her had better watch out!
Kickboxing will be held at the Muaythai Kickboxing Arena from 23-26 September.
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