Their father Noor Mohammad, a taxi driver, had been a bodybuilder until his death four years ago.
“Karate demands strict discipline and practice to maintain consistency,” says Ayesha, crediting mother Shakeela’s encouragement and her daily regimen for her rise.
In 2012, Ayesha won three gold medals in state and national karate championships, making her a strong contender for a ticket to Thailand.
Her role model is not a karateka, though. Ayesha idolises boxer Mary Kom from Manipur. “Both of us are in combat sports,” she grins.
And just as it has been for Kom, Ayesha’s never-say-die spirit comes in handy not only in competition but in life, too.
Her eldest brother Tanveer is the Noor family’s breadwinner, working as a temporary shoe salesman. There are days when he doesn’t find work and the uncertainty threatens to end Ayesha’s career.
“The sports department is paying Ayesha’s airfare but we still need money for her food and lodging,” says trainer Ali.
But Ayesha is unfazed. “I was born to fight, both inside and outside the ring,” she declares.
Attagirl, we say.
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