The tournament was held in St. Petersburg, Russia with teams from across the world competing, many of which recognize the martial art as a national sport. Fighting in the 48kg category, Ruqsana beat Ranini Cundasawmy from Mauritius and was awarded bronze in a close fight against the European Champion Chyslova Liudmila from Belarus, who proceeded to win silver.
Begum, who is of Muslim-Bengali background, took up the sport when she was 18 against the expectations of her family and religion. However having retained the British title since November 2011 and previously won gold at the European Club Championships, she has gained the support of her family and her fan base is steadily growing.
Ruqsana said ‘I was extremely proud to represent Great Britain and to have led the British team into the opening ceremony. As a non-professional competitor, I am delighted to have won a medal and hope that my success continues in the future.’
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Photo: Rémy Gros