RUQSANA BEGUM - NOWNESS
"A world-class Muslim female Muay Thai fighter—an anomaly in a sport dominated by men—to me she embodies every aspect of what inspiration should be. She has overcome racial, social and religious stereotypes and conventions to compete at the world level in a sport for which there is no glamor, no remuneration and no lucrative endorsement deals.
This is a dedication at its most pure, and Ruqsana is a role model not only to Muslim women but to everyone, regardless of their faith, background or ethnicity. It was a privilege to observe her in preparation for this important moment in her life. The surrogate father/daughter relationship that has developed with her trainer Bill is one of mutual dependence and mutual reward. It filled me with awe and is something that will live long in the memory."