ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – After organizing training seminars in the Kurdistan Region, a Kurdish Muay Thai and Kickboxing fighter says he is looking for the next champion from Kurdistan.
Born and raised in the Kurdistan Region’s Sulaimani Province, 26-year-old Ali Qaradaghy has had a passion for the combat sport since a young age, beginning his professional Kickboxing career in 2005.
Following his recent visit to Kurdistan where he led several training programs in cities across the Region, Qaradaghy told Kurdistan 24 his mission is to find talented athletes who have the potential to become champions.
“I tried my best to push these young Kurdish athletes who have dreams of achieving something great from this sport,” he said.
“I know that young Kurds who love this sport might not have enough money to travel to another city [to seek training], so I tried my best to help them by opening workshops in Erbil, Sulaimani,” and other cities in Kurdistan, Qaradaghy explained.
Kickboxing and Muay Thai are very similar combat sports, but there are some differences.
Kickboxing utilizes what is called a four-point striking system which is restricted to punches and kicks. Muay Thai, on the other hand, employs an eight-point striking system (punches, kicks, knees, and elbows).
In May, Qaradaghy organized Muay Thai and Kickboxing training seminars in the Kurdistan Region capital of Erbil as well as districts in Sulaimani Province, including Sharazoor, Garmian, and Said Sadiq.
The workshops were open to all age groups with some participants as young as 8-years-old. “This sport is really hard, and not everyone can become a champion,” the Kurdish fighter said.
“While organizing these training seminars in cities across Kurdistan, I was looking for athletes who have talent in this sport and put in a tireless effort and who work hard in training. This is what I am checking for,” he added.
“Many people from other cities [in Kurdistan] are calling me and sending me messages to lead more seminars, but I don’t have the time right now because I am training” for my upcoming professional fights, Qaradaghy stated.
The Kurdish athlete told Kurdistan 24 he plans to visit other cities in Kurdistan in the future following his fights scheduled for later this year.
In July, Qaradaghy met with Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani who the Kurdish fighter said: “really supported me.”
“I am happy that he is supporting me [with my projects in Kurdistan], and cheering me on during my fights.”
The 26-year-old says he is proud of his nationality and regularly drapes himself in the Kurdistan flag at his fights.
“I am Kurdish. My mother tongue is Kurdish. I am so proud of my nation of Kurdistan. I always represent Kurdistan when I fight. I take pride in representing the Kurdistan flag on behalf of all Kurdish people.”