First Boxing Club opens doors to women in Gaza

Lamees Abu Al-Qomsan, a 9-year-old girl boxer, warms up during training inside the first women boxing center in Gaza City January 17, 2023. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

GAZA— In Gaza’s only boxing club for girls, 15-year-old Farah Abu Al-Qomsan is practicing her moves, trading jabs and punches with the other girls training with coach Osama Ayoub at the Palestine Boxing Centre.

Since taking to the sport at the age of nine, Farah has found a release from the daily stresses of life in Gaza, a narrow coastal strip where some 2.3 million Palestinians live blockaded by both Israel and neighboring Egypt.

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“We used to train in a small garage. Now we train according to the full rules and release bad energy,” the 15-year-old girl, at the territory’s first women-only boxing center.

Six years ago, Ayoub, started with two girls. As more joined, they moved out of the garage and began training on the beach or in rented spaces before moving into the new club building.