“If you have a dream and you can’t stop thinking about, chase it. I promise you it will be worth it,” says Ammara Raja, an Australian based Pakistani taekwondo fighter who is trying to break stereotypes about women in general.
Ammara started taekwondo predominantly because she wanted to learn self-defence, always feeling strongly about women rights and empowerment, and wanting to see a world where women are able to defend and protect themselves in all situations. She began the martial art not knowing that this would be the beginning of something so great.
Her most recent competition was the Arnold Sports Festival Taekwondo Championship where she comprehensively outplayed her opponent and bagged a gold medal. She also participated in the International Multicultural Taekwondo Championship 2018. The participating countries were Australia, Brazil, Argentina, Korea, Hong Kong & India. Ammara won another gold medal at this competition by comprehensively beating her opponents. Her previous gold medal was at the Australian University Games which was attended by participants from all across Australia.
Besides undergoing intense training 6 days a week, Ammara is a final year professional accountancy student at RMIT and works part-time at Westpac. According to her “it can be exhausting sometimes but it’s always worth it”.
As well as always being active in sports, the gold medalist had been a high achiever at school and university. While talking to ARY, she said that all credit goes to her parents who have always stressed the importance of education and ensured she also made it a priority.
The 23-year-old completed her schooling from a private school in Pakistan, she then moved to Australia for her further education.
In her interview, Ammara shared an interesting story when she was in School, “Usually girls in my school used to apply nail colours and making different hairstyles but I was totally opposite, I ran on the soccer field with the boys as I was always attracted towards sports” she told with a laughter.
Over the last year, Ammara has competed at many taekwondo events, some of them have been listed below:
- Australian National Championship
- Arnold Classic Taekwondo Championship
- Australian University Games (AUG’s)
- Moomba Open Championship
- Autumn Open Championship
- Victorian State Championships
- Victorian Inter-University Championship (VUIC)
- International Multicultural Championship
- Arnold Sports Festival Taekwondo Championship
Ammara said her biggest concern when she was starting taekwondo definitely was whether she’d be able to make it professionally and be able to compete with people who have been doing it for much longer than she has. She was well aware that elite athlete started training at very young ages and says it was daunting at first but she kept at it, was consistent and ultimately saw results.
The young Taekwondo athlete also advice, “Do not stress about the process and about how long it will take because time doesn’t stop for anyone and it will pass anyway. As long as you are willing to work hard and give your everything, I can almost guarantee you, you will be successful.” she added.
During the next few years, Ammara sees herself competing more and more at an international level. As well as competing for Australia she wants to represent Pakistan at an international level and aspires to compete at the 2020 Olympics. She said, “I am thinking of competing at the National Taekwondo Championship for the first time in Pakistan at the end of this year so I can get an insight into taekwondo over there and any opportunities that exist.”