Sport on TV: Ambreen's dreams disturbed after being sent to bed early

Last week it was cage-fighting women, this week it's a 15-year-old girl boxer fighting her way out of a cage. But her battle is more metaphysical than physical. Ambreen Sadiq is the only female Muslim boxer in the country and she dreams of Olympic glory now that women have been permitted to prowl the ring for the first time. But first she must overcome the chorus of religious disapproval within her own community. On the evidence of Ambreen: The Girl Boxer (Channel 4, Friday), that looks to be a far tougher opponent than the ones she faces inside the ropes.

Her father Shokit says that as a baby "Beeno" had a natural boxer's defence, fists up in front of her face when folk would try to pet her. It's as if she knew what a hard slog lay ahead of her. And she still shows plenty of "attitude". When she is invited to attend an England training camp, she drops out after an argument with women's development manager Rebecca Gibson over when she's told to go to bed (at half past nine). A typically petulant teenager, it seems, and you wouldn't want to ask her to tidy her room. But it's not an attitude that wins gold medals, still less keeps them polished afterwards.

The fact that after four days she hasn't thrown a punch doesn't help. Her training, and enthusiasm, drop off and coach Nazil Jalil has to fight to get her back on track. We see Ambreen defend her UK title, but her father cannot make it. The implication seems to be that although he encouraged her to box, outside pressure is being brought to bear. Still, mum Carla, who endured the backchat of other mothers, is in the crowd, even throwing a few shadow jabs of her own.

And there is an enthusiastic turnout from Keighley's Muslims. "I'm so happy that finally we are getting some support from the Asian community," Carla says. But earlier she had announced, "I believe that everything has been decided by God", which surely spoils one of the basic tenets of all sport, that anyone can win. It's damn useful to have God on your side but He makes a most formidable foe – as, indeed, does religion.

* From Ambreen to Jarrad Breen, and another young contender who, in a different way, is fighting prejudice. The sport would claim otherwise but the perception of bowls is that it is an old man's game. Yet the 17-year-old from Tonyrefail in Wales, the youngest player to take part in the World Indoor Singles Championship at Potters Bar, reached the last 16, beating the world No 2 Mark Royal before bowing out against Nick Brett (Bowls Extra, BBC2, Wednesday). He didn't fade away, but instead battered the woods about as if he was on a giant pool table. With his spiky hair and spiky style of play, he could augur in a new era and overcome the bias of opinion. Everyone's calling their babies Jack these days, so why not?

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
people

Harry Potter actor suffered 'severe flu-like symptoms' on a flight from London to Orlando

Sport
Kim Sears is reported to have directed abuse at Berdych
tennis
News
news

Rap music mogul accused of running two men over in his truck

News
Gywneth Paltrow proposed that women seek out a special herbal steam-treatment service
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
Toronto tops the charts across a range of indexes
news

World cities ranked in terms of safety, food security and 'liveability'

Voices
A mother and her child
voices
Arts and Entertainment
tv

First full-length look is finally here

Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
News
Tax now accounts for ‘nearly 80%’ of the price of a bottle of whisky
news

Arts and Entertainment
Peppa Pig wearing her golden boots
film

"Oink! Oink! Hee hee hee!" First interview with the big-screen star

Life and Style
tech

Biohacking group hopes technology will lead people to think about even more dystopian uses

Arts and Entertainment
film
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Film director Martin Scorsese
film
News
news

The party's potential nominations read like a high school race for student body president

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Recruitment Genius: External Relations Executive

£33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An External Relations Executive is requi...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Project Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This established Digital Agency based in East ...

Guru Careers: Sales Director / Business Development Manager

£35 - 45K + COMMISSION (NEG): Guru Careers: A Sales Director / Business Develo...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Manchester - Urgent Requirement!

£30000 - £35000 per annum + 20 days holidays & pension: Ashdown Group: Marketi...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee