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June 6, 2013 12:40 pm

Orthodox Female Israeli Kickboxing Champ Shares Her Unlikely Story (VIDEO)

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Screen shot of kickboxing champion Sara Avraham sparring with a male counterpart. Photo: Youtube/Jewish News One.

The Muay Thai kickboxing world has an unlikely world champion in Sara Avraham, an Indian immigrant who lives in the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba, Jewish News One reports.

In March the 18-year-old won the 16-19 year-old championship in the 60-63 kilogram (132-138 lbs) division, this despite the fact that her strict religious background usually prohibits her from contact with members of the opposite sex.

“Here I’m doing something that I am focused more. My mind isn’t on that nonsense, it’s on the seriousness, I’m working hard. And these are people that respect me, they’re my friends. So I don’t feel like we’re doing anything wrong. It’s not contradictory at all,” she says of training with male counterparts.

Avraham was born to a Hindu father and a Christian mother in India, but the family converted to Judaism in 2005. Following the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks that left the rabbi who had converted them dead, the family moved to Israel.

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Avraham says that her religion provides the necessary components that it takes to succeed in sport. Noting prayer and dietary laws she says “it helps a lot.”

As a student at a religious all-girls school, Avraham said she was at first worried about participating in the sport, but after winning the world championship she was pleasantly surprised by the response she received from her peers and elders.

“I guess it was OK. Everybody was really happy about it.”

Watch the JN1 video report about Sara Avraham below:

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