Here is the Story of Pakistan's Karate Superstar, Kulsoom Hazara

Kulsoom Hazara, Pakistan's karate superstar

“Women possess a significant power”, 

is no more a mere saying the girls are on the mission of proving it. One such girl is Kulsoom Hazara, Pakistan’s Karata Superstar.

Her story stems from Quetta where she originally belongs. She was born in Quetta on September 4, 1988. Kulsoom is the youngest of three sisters and a brother. She lost her mother when she was only two years old. Furthermore, her father suddenly passed away due to heart failure when she was nine.

When she was five her father took her to a local karate club that was owned by her cousin Sarwar Ali, who later became her brother-in-law and husband of her eldest sister Fatima. After the death of her father, Sarwar became her guardian and mentor. Sarwar was also a tailor master. 

In these tough times of life, Karate became a way for young Kalsoom to forget traumatic incidents and pull herself out of depression. She started spending more and more time at club simultaneously she was also improving her combat skills.

Due to security hazards in the area and for the sake of precautions the family moved to Karachi in 2000. Sarwar reestablished her tailoring business and a Karate club in Karachi.  Kalsoom engaged herself in Karate training and started studying in a newly moved city.

Kalsoom got the chance to put her training into practice. The Sindh Games of 2000 in Hyderabad were Kulsoom’s first major tournament, where she proved her mettle by bagging three gold medals in her weight category. Next, she featured in the National Women’s Karate Championship where she won bronze.

But it was not the end of Kalsoom’s hard days. The hardest challenges of Kalsoom’s life were yet to come. The calamity was caused in their life when her major support and mentor Sarwar her brother-in-law was shot in Karachi. The death of her mentor caused a vagueness in Kalsoom’s dreams. Her dreams started to shatter. There was also a problem that how the three sisters would earn their living. Her widowed sister then resorted to doing embroidery work at home while the other sister Zehra started teaching Persian, their first language, to somewhat help in making a contribution in their finances. Both older sisters pushed the youngest to carry on with her studies and karate and excelling at both, Kulsoom, too, did not disappoint them.

Kalsoom proved her efficiency and passion by becoming the national women’s karate champion, and she managed to do it the same year Sarwar was killed. Kulsoom is still the top female karateka in her weight category of +61kg.

“I lost my parents when I was young but the loss of my brother-in-law has been the most traumatic,” says Kulsoom Hazara, now 31. 

“It changed my entire life. I now want to make a name for myself and my family. More importantly I want to make my late mentor proud and karate is all that I am left with.”

“I have a special attachment with karate because of my brother-in-law. When I win, I know I make him proud,” 

“I come from a conservative background but the support from my sisters and my late brother-in-law instilled self-belief in me. It was their encouragement which drove me through everything,” she says.

“I used to get angry at everything, but this sport calmed me down. It became my anger management tool,” she says.

Her portfolio started developing. She won dozens of gold medals. She has, in fact, had the distinction of securing hat-tricks of gold medals consecutively in as many as four national events. She has remained a prolific performer at the national level since 2002.

After representing the army for a short time, she moved to Wapda and she still represents the department in all national-level events.

The legacy of her dead mentor “karate club in Karachi’s Lyari” is now managed by Kalsoom. The company of the other champions there such as Saadi Abbas helps her polish her skills further. She always wanted to represent Pakistan on the international level ad it happened at the time of the 4th Islamic Women Games in Tehran in 2005, where she secured fifth position. Eventually, in 2010, she reached the podium, getting two bronze medals in the South Asian Games in Dhaka. She says that it gives her extreme pleasure when the Pakistani flag is raised overseas because of something she does.
Kulsoom’s brilliant performance also saw her returning home with a gold and silver medal from the 2016 South Asian Karate Championship in New Delhi.

She has also been decorated with the ‘Icon of the Nation’ award on March 23 earlier this year and the ‘Excellence Award” in sports on August 14, 2017.

Recently she won one gold and a silver medal despite carrying an injury at 13th South Asian Games held in Kathmandu, Nepal. In his way, she has secured a place as a prominent female karateka in the South Asian region.

Along with sport, Kulsoom has also obtained her Master’s degree in Health and Physical Education from the University of Karachi. She is also working as a fitness consultant and coach, helping future female karatekas. 

“I will work for women karatekas in a real"

Nimirta Wadhwani 

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