- Title: Iraq's kickboxing team show off medal-winning skills
- Date: 5th June 2017
- Summary: BASRA, IRAQ (RECENT) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF KICKBOXING CLUB SIGN ABOVE DOOR READING (Arabic and English): 'AL-ANDALUS BADMINTON' INTERIOR OF TRAINING HALL WITH KICKBOXERS WARMING UP VARIOUS OF KICKBOXERS DOING WARM UP EXERCISES KICKBOXER HITTING GLOVES OF TRAINER KICKBOXER KICKING GLOVES OF TRAINER SOUNDBITE (Arabic) IRAQI NATIONAL TEAM TRAINER, AHMED KARIM ABDUL-ZAHRA, SAYING: "We took part in more than one category; K1, semi-contact and light-contact. From these we won three gold, two silver and seven bronze medals." KICKBOXER HITTING BOXING BAG KICKBOXER KICKING BOXING BAG KICKBOXERS TRAINING TOGETHER TWO KICKBOXERS TRAINING WITH EACH OTHER KICKBOXERS GATHERED IN HALL SOUNDBITE (Arabic) KICKBOXER, RIKAN LATIF KADIM, SAYING: "We were and are still facing hardships and difficulties such as the lack of tidy good halls and equipment. As you see our halls are bad and disorganised, the boxing bags and shields are not good. These are the difficulties we are facing." KICKBOXERS IN TRAINING HALL KICKBOXING KIT IN BOXES IN HALL SMALL KICKBOXING BAGS ON THE WALL KICKBOXERS SEATED TOGETHER ON FLOOR AND TALKING KICKBOXER DRINKING WATER IN HALL SOUNDBITE (Arabic) KICKBOXER, ABDUL-KHALIQ SABIH MAHDI, SAYING: "The final fight was with an athlete from Kyrgyzstan. Thank God, I was able to beat him on points. It was not easy but I managed to get the gold medal." VARIOUS OF KICKBOXERS DOING EXERCISES
- Embargoed: 19th June 2017 11:43
- Keywords: Asia Kickboxing Championships athlete sport kickboxing Basra Iraq
- Location: BASRA, IRAQ
- City: BASRA, IRAQ
- Country: Iraq
- Topics: Mixed Martial Arts,Sport
- Reuters ID: LVA0016K01G7P
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: In the quiet back streets of the southern city of Basra, a team of champion kickboxers train at a badminton club.
The fifteen-strong Iraqi National team have recently returned from the Asia Kickboxing Championships with 12 medals between them - including three gold medals.
The young men hail from different parts of Iraq but most are from Basra.
They travelled together to Turkmenistan where they took part in different kickboxing categories.
"We took part in more than one category; K1, semi-contact and light-contact. From these we won three gold, two silver and seven bronze medals," said the team's trainer Ahmed Karim Abdul-Zahra.
After a short break, the team are back in training as they prepare for the 2018 World Championship, where they hope to add more medals to their collection.
But some of the kickboxers say the current facilities are not adequate for their training.
Rikan Latif Kadim, 26, joined the kickboxing team five years ago and said that he has resorted to using private halls because of lack of government clubs.
"We were and are still facing hardships and difficulties such as the lack of tidy good halls and equipment. As you see our halls are bad and disorganised, the boxing bags and shields are not good. These are the difficulties we are facing," he said.
Kickboxers have to buy their own clothing and equipment and, with a monthly salary of 350,000 Iraqi dinar (around 300USD), there's only so much they can afford.
But this team has passion and, despite the difficulties, they are enjoying their recent success.
"The final fight was with an athlete from Kyrgyzstan. Thank God, I was able to beat him on points. It was not easy but I managed to get the gold medal." said kickboxing champion, Abdul-Khaliq Sabih Mahdi.
What started out as a mixed martial art in the mid-1990s, kickboxing is now taking Basra by storm, extending to clubs around the city.
And for these young men, daily training and discipline is the road to success.
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