Kickboxing Ace Harleen Kaur wants to get more Asian women into sports
Harleen Kaur is only 17 years old and lives in the City of Bradford and currently studying at Sixth Form but has already made massive strides in her sports career.
She is already an international ambassador for the Asian Sports Foundation. This entails supporting their campaigns for equality and inclusion in sport. As a young Indian female sports person herself, she thinks they are under-represented groups at national and international level. She would love to see more of the Asian community participating in sport and physical activity. She is working with the foundation and its partners to inspire other members and share with them how they could also succeed regardless of race, gender or capability and also working with the foundation with conducting research and insight work to help understand some of the barriers that Indian women have with taking part in sports and looking into ways to overcome these.
Earlier this year, she was shortlisted for the Asian Women of Achievement Awards in the sports category. She won the award becoming the youngest women to be awarded this in the Awards history and won the award of Asian Sportswoman of the year.
Currently she is a 2nd Dan Black Belt in Karate, working towards grading to a 3rd Dan by the end of the year.She also represents the nation as part of the WMKF England team. At the moment she is the only British Asian female in the team and the first British Asian/female to represent WMKF England (Kickboxing).She also attended the World Martial Kombat Federation World Championships last year in November, where she returned with a Silver medal, and will be travelling to Malta for the World Championships again this year, hoping to win the world title.
In 2015, she won the title of British Champion at the WMKF British Championships where she fought and won a Gold and Bronze medal. In 2013, She fought in the UK All Styles Championships, winning the title and walking away with a gold medal and trophy. Training for nearly 10 years now, she started competing in competitions 4 years ago starting from local tournaments including Karate, Kickboxing and Taekwondo – points fighting.
From a very young age she has had a true passion and love for sports and has thrived in this environment and has been lucky enough to help the community by sharing her skills to the younger talent. She has assisted at junior Muay Thai classes at her local Sikh Temple for a few months last year.
She is very connected with the Indian community in Bradford and many have supported her throughout her life and are proud of what she has already achieved. She hosts a seasonal radio show on a local station known as Sabrang Radio. The station comes on air around Diwali and Vaisakhi times. She presents a cultural show, which consists of playing a range of Indian song requests, taking live calls on air, as well as conducting interviews with renowned artists and talents such as Garry Sandhu (Indian Singer) and Bunty Bains (Producer) to name a few.
For many years she volunteered to teach Punjabi at Singh Sabha Gurdwara’s Khalsa Panjabi School in Bradford following passing her Punjabi exam with an A* at the age of 13. She helped to teach the G.C.S.E class and was even given the opportunity to conduct one-to-one tuition with the more mature students. She also assists at the annual Nagar Kirtan (Vaisakhi Parade) as a steward to ensure the day is enjoyable for all.
She is very connected with her roots and visits India every summer to take part in charity work as well as encouraging youth into sports and physical activity. There is a significant drug problem in the state of Punjab in India, an issue which she wants to help tackle through her work with a grassroots organisation called Y.F.C. Rurka Kalan, encouraging the youth to take part in various sports and physical activity, deterring them from drugs and alcohol abuse. This summer she is hoping to help with awareness campaigns in forms of workshops and seminars and teaching self defence to the children, focusing especially on the girls. She is also involved with the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Memorial Sports Club (Kot Kalan) and helps host the annual Kabaddi Tournament where they set up a Kabaddi and Volleyball team from her village (Kot Khurd).
She is also involved in an anti-domestic violence campaign with an American Asian Magazine: ‘Rose Alley’, which says ” 1 in 3 women throughout the world will experience physical or sexual violence by a partner or sexual violence by a non-partner.” She was asked to be a member of this campaign which is also supported by the likes of Miss Universe Canada and Miss Israel. She has with her parents support also organised a Cancer Awareness camp in her village in India with ROKO Cancer, who offer free cancer screening tests, blood pressure tests and offer free medication for one year to anyone who is diagnosed with a problem.
Not only she is succeeding in sports, She is also Head girl and leader of the Student Council at her High School, Appleton Academy. Alongside her sports and training she still ensures that my academic achievement is top. She achieved 15 GCSEs grade A*-C and had some of the highest results in her year. During school time she uses her free periods to volunteer in Physical Education lessons helping the teachers with their classes, leading her own sessions and helping out on sports day. She is also part of the Appleton Crusaders, a dragon boating team where they boat in the annual Lord Mayor’s appeal competing in sponsored boat races and raising money for charities.
She recently hosted the Lakwinder Wadali show at the New Bingley Hall in front of hundreds of people where Punjab2000 snapped her photos. This young talented and inspirational girl is leading the way and encouraging young girls into sports and has shown that you can do well academically and pursue a career in sports at the same time. She is working on so many initiatives to encourage other Asian girls to make a name in sports. We wish her all the best and look forward to sharing her future achievements with you.