After Nargis Hazara, another Hazara sportswoman has become Pakistan’s pride. The journey to becoming a karateka (someone who does karate) wasn’t an easy one for this Quetta native. Yet Kulsoom Hazara punched her way through a wall of tragedies.
Kulsoom has persevered despite facing losses that could deter a lesser soul. She has faced pressure related to the social stigma surrounding women in sports. She also lost both her parents before she even turned 10. In the face of such loss, her determination and resilience has taken her from strength to strength.
This is her story.
Kulsoom Hazara – A Profile
Kulsoom Hazara was born the youngest of five siblings in Quetta on September 4, 1988. She, her three sisters and brother lost their mother when Kulsoom was only two.
When Kulsoom was only 5, her father took her to a local karate club.
The club was owned by her cousin Sarwar Ali. He had been raised by Kulsoom’s father and later married Kulsoom’s eldest sister Fatima. Aside from being a karate instructor, Sarwar was also a tailor.
Tragedy struck again when she was nine. Kulsoom’s father suddenly passed away due to heart failure. This led to her sister Fatima and brother-in-law Sarwar taking guardianship of Kulsoom and her other sister Zehra.
After her brother moved out with his own family, Fatima and Sarwar took the girls to Karachi in 2000. That’s where Sarwar opened a new Karate club and tailoring set-up.
All wasn’t doom and gloom, as the move to Karachi led Kulsoom to be discovered in the Sindh Games 2000 in Hyderabad. Kulsoom bagged three gold medals in her weight category, in her first major tournament.
She then advanced to the National Women’s Karate Championship where she took bronze.
Her achievements represented a rare moment of hapiness in her life but alas, things did not remain so. In 2003, her brother-in-law Sarwar was shot dead in Karachi.
“I lost my parents when I was young but the loss of my brother-in-law has been the most traumatic.”
A New Phase in Life
After Sarwar’s death, Fatima took over the household’s financial responsibility with her home embroidery set-up. Her sister Zehra pitched in by teaching Persian. Both sisters were adamant about Kulsoom pursuing her studies and her dream to be a karateka.
Now Kulsoom is pushing forward to make her family and Pakistan proud.
“It changed my entire life. I now want to make a name for myself and my family. More importantly I want to make my late mentor proud and karate is all that I am left with.”
Since then Kulsoom has gone on to represent Pakistan on International forums. Her awards and accolades include:
- 1st National Women Karate Championship 2002, Lahore — 1 bronze medal
- National Games 2004, Quetta — 1 bronze medal
- 2nd National Women Karate Championship 2005, Islamabad — 1 gold medal
- 3rd National Women Karate Championship 2006, Rawalpindi — 1 silver medal
- 1st National Women Ranking Karate Championship 2007, Lahore — 2 gold medals
- 4th National Women Karate Championship 2008, Lahore — 2 gold medals
- 5th National Women Karate Championship 2009, Hyderabad — 3 gold medals
- 6th National Women Karate Championship 2010, Karachi — 3 gold medals
- 31st National Games 2010, Peshawar — 3 gold medals
- Shaheed Benazir Bhutto 7th National Women Karate Championship 2011, Lahore — 3 gold medals
- Shaheed Benazir Bhutto 8th National Women Karate Championship 2012, Lahore — 3 gold medals
- 32nd National Games 2012, Lahore — 3 gold medals
- 9th National Women Karate Championship 2015, Lahore — 2 gold medals
- 10th National Women Karate Championship 2016, Lahore — 2 gold medals
- 11th National Women Karate Championship 2017, Lahore — 2 gold medals
- 12th National Women Karate Championship 2018, Sahiwal — 2 gold medals
- 33rd National Games 2019, Peshawar — 2 gold medals
- 13th National Women Karate Championship 2019, Lahore — 2 gold medals
- 4th Islamic Women Games 2005, Tehran, Iran — Secured 5th position
- 10th South Asian Games 2006, Colombo, Srilanka — Secured 5th position
- 11th South Asian Games 2010, Dhaka, Bangladesh — 2 bronze medals
- 11th Senior Cadet AKF Championship 2012, Tashkent Uzbekistan — Secured 5th position
- 17th Asian Games 2014, Incheon, South Korea — Secured 5th position
- 3rd South Asian Karate Championship 2016, New Delhi, India — 1 gold and 1 silver
- 4th South Asian karate championship 2017, Colombo Sri Lanka — 1 gold and 1 silver
- 4th Islamic Solidarity Game 2017, Baku Azerbaijan — Secured 5th position
- Karate 1 Premier League 2017, Dubai — Participated
- 15th AKF Senior Championship 2018, Amman Jordan — Participated
- 18th Asian Games 2018, Jakarta Palembang — Participated
- Karate 1 Series A 2018, Shanghai China — Participated
- 13th South Asian Games 2019, Kathmandu, Nepal — 1 gold and 1 silver
She’s now training other women to empower girls like her family had done for her.
“I will work for women karatekas in a relevant capacity such as coaching, for which I can also establish a training facility, but I would appreciate some government support,”