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Meet Ayesha Noor, Kolkata's Wonder Karate Kid

Kolkata: Ayesha Noor is Kolkata’s karate kid who has been making her family proud since she was 16. She was the only girl on her team to have travelled to Thailand for the Thai Pichai Youth International tournament, and win a gold medal.

Being poor didn’t matter as monetary help poured in from well-wishers and even the State Government. After winning three gold medals at the international level and two at the national level, Ayesha, now 19, is taking her karate skills to a new level.

She has vowed to impart self-defense and martial arts training to 1 lakh girls every year that too, free of cost. She has grand plans to take her initiative beyond borders, with India’s neighbouring countries of Nepal, Bangladesh, and Thailand. Officials of The Indian Karate

Association travelled to Abu Dhabi on the March 1, to approach various schools. The UK is also on her list.

Ayesha started karate at the age of 6. Though she lost her father when she was 13, her mother continued encouraging her after Ayesha’s
coach MA Ali saw potential. Her epileptic seizures might have affected her health and in turn, her studies at school, but this did not stop her from taking up the karate challenge. In fact, she found refuge in karate.

At present, she has 600 girls as students under her leadership, with 11 trainers to oversee them at Ramleela grounds in Moulali area, Kolkata.

“I am very proud of Ayesha. She has this vision to help other girls across the world for free and I hope we will get all the support,” says MA Ali. Union Minister Maneka Gandhi has also tweeted calling Ayesha an inspiration to other women.

Ayesha is now appealing to the West Bengal Government and the Central Government to help materialise her dreams. But is the challenge that easy? Ayesha also wants to take her appeal further to the Governments of countries she plans to visit to help train school girls in self-defence and martial arts.

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After the tragic Nirbhaya rape case in Delhi in 2012, Ayesha has been teaching self-defence for free,

While her dream is to make her mission a success with support from her coach, the UK-based Remedia Trust has also come forward to support her family with a small grant of Rs.5000. However, most of this money goes into buying medicines for her treatment of epileptic seizures.

Adding another feather to her hat, Ayesha may soon be honoured by the US Government for her grit and determination to fight all odds and inspire other girls. She has already made inroads into the US after featuring in a documentary film titled ‘Girl Connected’ in 2016, which focused on five women trying to fight gender discrimination.

The film was made by ‘International Television Services’, a US network. The documentary film, which also features four other girls from Kenya, Jordan, Bangladesh, and Peru, has been screened across the US.

First Published: March 3, 2017, 6:56 PM IST