Every year, we scope out 18 women who are driven by a desire to bring positive change and have achieved success in their chosen field as part of the Great Women Of Our Time awards. Meet 2019’s Health, Sports & Wellness nominee, Nurshahidah “The Sniper” Roslie, Singapore’s First Female Professional Boxer:
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Meet Nurshahidah Roslie – Great Women Of Our Time 2019 Sports, Health & Wellness Nominee
“People don’t want to watch women fighting”, is a view that Nurshahidah Roslie has encountered many times in her stint as Singapore’s first professional female boxer.
But to the athlete, boxing is so much more than a glorified catfight.
“Many people out there think that there is nothing feminine about two ladies throwing punches at each other,” says Shahidah, who is also known by her nickname, “The Sniper”.
“They don’t understand the level of discipline and sportsmanship that come with contact sports. Most female boxers I know are great athletes who, in addition to mastering the techniques involved in boxing, are also respectful of their opponents in the ring.”
Its women like Shahidah, who affirms the idea that power, strength and agility can be part of the feminine identity that is pushing boxing into the future.
She also hopes to break down the gender stereotypes associated with women in sport, especially male-dominated ones like boxing.
“Many expect me to be muscular and manly as a female boxer, but they will find that I am directly the opposite. I’m strong, yes, but I’m also feminine in build,” she explains.
“Too many women think that the way your body looks equates to being fit and healthy but this isn’t true. Your fitness level is not equivalent to your physique. I learnt this when I was a teenager. I was considered overweight in my teens and made to feel bad for it but in truth, I was active and very fit, even scoring gold for the National Physical Fitness Award (NAPFA) in secondary school.”
She found that when she entered the fitness industry, a lot of women also had the misconception that bigger bodies were fitter bodies. She hopes to use her influence as a professional athlete to dispel this myth and help women feel better about themselves through the pursuit of sports.
While Shahidah admits that being a boxer in Singapore doesn’t exactly pay the bills, she believes in doing what you love.
“Whatever goals you may have, nothing worth doing comes easy. It’s been a struggle for me sometimes, financially. I have an income as an athlete but its not a fixed income and I supplement it by working as a personal trainer and coach but it’s been worth it. I love that I’m doing what I love as a living,” affirms the boxer.
“My dad mentioned to me that every job has their own difficulties behind the glamorous job titles and positions. He advised me to always finish what I start and I’ve held that advice close to me.”
Citing drive and perseverance as the two qualities one must have to succeed in life, Shahidah says she is also inspired by the tenacity of others. She cites Kate Farley, a female boxer suffering from cerebral palsy, as someone she admires for pushing through her struggles to achieve greatness in sport.
“I hope I’ll be remembered as a Singaporean who achieved success through the unconventional route,” says the six-time boxing champion.
“I don’t just want to be successful in my chosen career but I want to spur others and empower others to be able to do the same.”
Photos: Vee Chin & Tan Wei Te
Fashion Direction: Aaron Kok
Styling Assistants: Juliet Suen & An Lyn Chee
Hair: Jason Wong/Salon Nu, Grego & Ash Loi/Sonder Salon
Makeup: Keith Bryant Lee, Hongling Lim, Rina Sim, Wee Ming & Jyue Huey (for Shann Sok)
Location: 89NR, The Working Capitol, Botanico at The Garage & The Summerhouse
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