A promising star of karate
From the age of 10, Marzan Akter Priya knew that her calling in life is karate. She used to watch seniors and juniors in karate training from a window in her classroom. However, she did not pluck up the courage to join them because such activities were strictly prohibited in her household.
She eventually broke all barriers and started practicing when she was in the ninth grade. Marzan won a gold medal in the singles event at the 2019 South Asian Games. She also secured two bronze medals in the 28th National Karate Championship in Bangladesh and two silver medals in the 9th Bangabandhu Bangladesh Games. She has participated in competitions in Dubai, India, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Malaysia.
Despite all her success, she is no stranger to failures and obstacles. "In the pursuit of karate, I have faced many challenges, most of which stemmed from people passing negative comments behind my back. I never felt comfortable going out in my uniform because people in our country are conservative. It is beyond their belief that a girl from a reputed school like Viqarunnisa would want to 'throw her life away' by engaging in martial arts," shared Marzan.
Now, she is a Fine Arts student at Jagannath University. Even though balancing her studies and karate practices is taxing on her both mentally and physically, she still perseveres with all her might. "Fortunately, my teachers are very supportive. If I miss any class or test because of a game, they let me take it on a later date," she said.
Her next goal is to participate in the Asian Karate Championship and World Karate Federation. "Even if I don't win at those competitions, I think I will learn many important lessons from international coaches and players. I am just a simple girl from a small town, who managed to come this far," she added. "If our girls are given proper guidance, imagine what else they can do. I believe Bangladesh can also earn a world ranking in karate."
Regardless of the hurdles that come her way, Marzan carries on with her willpower and determination.
The author is a student of BRAC University, and a freelance journalist. Email: [email protected].