Ramla Ali will become the first Somali boxer to go to an Olympics and hopes to inspire young Somalis when she makes her debut at the Tokyo Games.
Ali was a toddler when her family fled the Somali capital Mogadishu in the early 1990s after her older brother was killed aged 12 by a mortar.
Having fled the civil war and after a stint in Kenya, her family arrived in London as refugees. It was as a child when she fell in love with boxing and she went on to win British and English titles in 2016.
Tokyo 2020
‘It shows the respect!’ - Harrington seals lightweight gold
08/08/2021 AT 10:18
The 31-year-old found out she was competing at the Games just five weeks ago and detailed her unorthodox training regime on the Gemili & Poz podcast that has included stints in an underground car park.
Ali, who is also a model, author and activist, hopes her appearance at the Olympics can inspire a new generation of Somali athletes.
"Sometimes I do have a bit of a breakdown and think 'I can't do this, it's too much' but then I have to take a step back and think about the bigger picture," she said.
The bigger picture being to inspire the next Ramla Ali.
"I'm hoping to inspire the next Ramla Ali to think bigger than being someone's housewife and show that we came from the same place and if I can do it you can do it too.
"Sometimes it does get really hard and I wish I had the same level of funding as other people. At times I wish I didn't have to work to fund myself so I could concentrate solely on the sport. However, all these hardships makes the victories all the sweeter.
"If it can inspire some girls and boys to dream big then it makes it worthwhile and I've done my job properly."
- - -
Stream every unmissable moment of Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 live on discovery+, The Streaming Home of the Olympics.
Tokyo 2020
‘It has been a fantastic performance!’ - Unstoppable Price defeats Qian to win gold
08/08/2021 AT 10:13
Tokyo 2020
'An incredible moment' - GB's Price receives boxing gold medal
08/08/2021 AT 08:34