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Ilford kickboxer wins British title

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ILFORD kickboxer Ruqsana Begum has now set her sights on a European title after winning the British equivalent.

The 27-year-old produced the goods in her first final to defeat Paige Farrington and walk away with the British Muay Thai Atomweight title from the Duel at the Dome contest in Doncaster.

Ruqsana picked up a bronze at the World Championships in Bangkok, Thailand in 2009, whilst also representing England as a kickboxer and is looking forward to competing in the Olympic-ratified Sports Accord Championships in her home city next year, but first on the agenda is a push for a European title bout.

“I am very happy and I am still in shock,” said Begum.

“I have made good progress and that shows I have got the ability to compete.

“It would take another year or two of solid training to make me ready for the European title, but I definitely feel I have got it within me.

“You have to be worthy of a shot at the title and the more wins and medals I get the more likely I will have a chance.

“I have discussed it with my trainer (Kru Bill Judd) and he believes if I want to give it a try then it will take a lot of hard work over the next year or so.

“The schedule can be quite intense, but it is all working well at the moment.”

Begum, who trains at the KO Gym in Bethnal Green, first discovered the sport as an 18-year-old, and admits she has been helped enormously since turning professional two years ago.

“I could train during the day, and go to the gym, or get my road work done – when I started it was more of a hobby. I didn’t know that I could turn myself into a competitor in a professional sport,” she said

“I am a sporty person. I like the fast and furious, anything high-impact – so Muay Thai fits my personality well.”

But she still likes to juggle her commitments by working two days a week as a Science Technician at Swanlea School, Whitechapel as well as after school classes in kickboxing to kids in her area.

“At the moment it is quite tough and with training twice a day sometimes it is a struggle,” she said.

The 27-year-old was a trainee architect, after graduating from the University of Westminster in 2006, and one day hopes to go back into the industry.

“I was made redundant after the company I worked for made cuts, but one day I hope to go back into it, but at the moment I would like to concentrate on the kickboxing,” said Begum.

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