Ramadan just the first challenge for Aussie boxer

Elmir is currently observing Ramadan – just the first of many challenges she will face this year.

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It’s common for Bianca Elmir to abstain from eating and drinking before a training session.

But the physical demands of boxing means she isn’t be able to fast every day.

“Sometimes it can get very overwhelming with the training schedule that I’ve got on and leading up to a fight it’s very difficult because everything is assessed you know like how much you’re drinking, how much you’re eating, because I have to be perfectly a certain weight, to the gram.”

When she does fast, it’s done with a purpose.

“I’ll dedicate it towards something, so you know the other day I dedicated it to just recognising my environment and I was just really mindful of my environment all day because I made the intention of fasting for – obviously, first for God – but then secondly to be mindful of my environment, care and respect it. I was trying to pick up rubbish around me and just being really grateful for everything around me, just being mindful of trees and all these really beautiful things.”

Elmir has been a Muslim since she was a child.

The 34 year-old admits being open about her faith still presents its challenges.

“As soon as I say I’m Muslim I have to automatically defend myself, I’m in a defensive position, and that’s a really negative experience.”

In November, she will attempt to qualify for next year’s Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

Her trainer, former Olympian Jamie Pittman, says Elmir is destined for success.

“If she can continue to grow and improve and stay obsessed with boxing the way she has the last six weeks she will be going to the Commonwealth Games and winning a gold medal, I’ve got no doubt in hell that she will be the best 51kg in the Commonwealth.”

Elmir hopes achieving that goal will inspire other young Muslim women in Australia.

“For other Islamic women I would hope that I can lead by example, in showing that ‘be comfortable in your own skin, things will get tough sometimes, it’s tough for everyone just being a human being in this world and if you just try hard and do as much as you can to be the person that you can be, then anything is possible.’ I honestly believe that.”