Harleen Kaur: A Kickboxing Girl’s Life & Hopes
At the age of 17, Harleen Kaur has unreservedly demonstrated her passion. Born to an Indian-British immigrant family, she is a high school junior with a clear goal of majoring in physiotherapy in college; outside of school, she is a frequent caregiver to cancer patients in India, flying there once a year; In the meantime, she is the proud WMKF World Champion Silver Medalist in kickboxing and a devoted ambassador at Asian Sports Foundation.
Harleen is especially keen on the issue of gender inequality in the sports area, promoting respect and equal pay for female athletes, and encouraging women and girls to enjoy benefits brought by sports – gym exercise, swimming, yoga, kickboxing, any kinds! Harleen thinks women are missing out the biggest opportunity to be their healthiest, strongest and most beautiful self by avoiding sports, a result of traditional parenting values in raising girls in many families – especially Asian.
Rose Alley has selected some questions collected from our younger group of readers who would like to take an interest in sports or a gym routine. Let’s see what Harleen has to say.
Reader: What is the greatest challenge you have to tackle in your sporting career?
Harleen: “personally, I think the greatest challenge for me so far has been balancing both school work and training together when I was studying towards my GCSEs. However, I managed to overcome it and came out with great results as well as winning a gold and bronze at the WMKF Team England Qualifiers and Silver at the World Championships. I think if you are truly determined and passionate towards a sport it is possible to do anything. I realised that I needed to create a schedule so I could balance both revision and training.”
Reader: I’m an Asian girl who loves sports but my parents’ don’t like to see me being physically active, what should I tell them to let me be happy and embrace my passion?
Harleen: “in some cases, the parents don’t have enough knowledge about the specific sport you wish to participate in. So, take some time out to sit down and have a chat with your parents, explain to them your passion for the sport and try to inform them about what it is all about. Make them aware that all sports have safety precautions and there is very little chance that you will get hurt. However, in other cases, Asian parents would prefer their daughters to focus on education only rather than focusing on sports. However, it is possible to do both! You can easily create a schedule balancing both work and training so you can still maintain the good grades. So to overcome this issue, I think that we need to inform the parents on how being physically active is not only beneficial to health, but also leads to a happier and more positive life. At the end of the day, parents only want their kids to be happy so if you explain this to them, I’m sure they won’t have a problem with it. You’re probably just overthinking it and afraid that they may disapprove of your participation in sports, but explain to them and why you feel sport is important to you.”
Reader: How does being active benefit health in the long run?
Harleen: “being active has many benefits to an individual’s health in the long run, It’s medically proven that people who take part in regular physical activity have:
- up to a 35% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke
- up to a 50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes
- up to a 50% lower risk of colon cancer
- up to a 20% lower risk of breast cancer
- a 30% lower risk of early death
- up to an 83% lower risk of osteoarthritis
- up to a 68% lower risk of hip fracture
- a 30% lower risk of falls (among older adults)
- up to a 30% lower risk of depression
- up to a 30% lower risk of dementia
Not only does exercise control weight, but also it stimulates the release of certain chemicals in the brain which allow a person to feel happier and more relaxed. Therefore, you may feel relaxed after performing exercise and most people also tend to feel better about their appearance too. This will result in an increase in self-esteem, meaning it will boost your confidence and you will feel so much better about life.”
Reader: Once starting a sport of exercise routine, what’s the best motivation line to use to carry it on?
Harleen: “my favourite quote is ‘I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’ – Muhammad Ali”
Reader: What makes a girl beautiful?
Harleen: “I think that beautiful is a very powerful word and is very hard to define in a couple of sentences. Nevertheless, it is a lot more than looks, I believe it’s the qualities that an individual has truly defines them as beautiful. In my opinion, a beautiful lady is someone who is confident and humble and doesn’t chase the limelight or cry for attention. Being compassionate and caring makes you beautiful, ensuring that you don’t limit yourself and have an open mind towards life.”
Harleen also shared with us that helping Cancer patients in India has helped her grow so much personally. Inspite of her fluency in her native language, the real challenge was in getting local people’s support on her charity work, which included offering free cancer tests and medication to villagers who couldn’t afford them, sending villagers to the health centers where free services were provided and promoting healthcare awareness to people who didn’t have access to it. Obstacles always existed – for instance, people stopped their ambulance from using the roads that were “owned by the government.” Harleen & her team of volunteers worked very hard to tackle difficulties that came from the weakness in the local infrastructures, system and mindset. Every challenge she has tackled is a trophy of her strength and resilience, which she has gained from her 10 years of sports upbringing.
** For more of Harleen Kaur, follow her twitter. **
Courtesy of www.rosealley.com