Ramla Ali: ‘I think it’s reckless that the Olympics is still going ahead’

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Ramla Ali says the Tokyo Olympics are “reckless”.

The 2020 Olympics were postponed to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic but Ramla, 31 – who became the first Somali woman to compete in boxing at the Olympics but was defeated by Claudia Nechita of Romania- admitted she was uneasy about taking part.

She told ELLE UK: “I think it’s reckless that the Olympics is still going ahead. It’s obviously been a lifelong dream of mine, and I will still go and represent my country with pride, but it’s very risky.”

Ramla also revealed she was upset at not being asked to represent Great Britain at the Olympics.

She said: “It was so sad. I did everything that was possibly asked of me and I never got invited to Selection Camp. There is a lot of politics involved in why [I didn’t get invited]. I don’t want to speculate, because it isn’t my place. I was really heartbroken and wanted to stop competing.”

The model and activist, who signed a professional deal with Matchroom Boxing last year, admitted that the boxing world is not easy on women.

She said: “You’re watching me compete, why are you not commenting on my boxing? What does me being a model have anything to do with it? I’m a boxer. What does her being a scaffolder have anything to do with it? She’s a boxer. Give us the respect that we deserve. We’re both in the ring, it’s a dangerous sport, we’re both putting our lives on the line.”

And she explained that having her hijab torn off and stamped on in a racist attack when she was younger, has shaped her as a person.

She said: “It’s the event that has most shaped me into who I am today. I was shocked, even though at the time I didn’t know it was a racist attack.”

The September issue of ELLE UK is on sale from 05 August. www.ELLE.com/uk

This article originally ran on celebretainment.com.

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