Professional wrestling has been considered an art form that combines strength and showmanship and was often considered a man’s sport. But this popular form of entertainment across the globe has now welcomed women wrestlers into the ring with open arms.
Although we have seen women wrestlers dressed in spandex or lycra singlets fighting their opponents of the same gender, here is a hijab-clad female wrestler from Malaysia who is breaking barriers and pinning down men in the game.
Pro wrestler popular as Nor ‘Phoenix’ Diana who is also the first-ever female Malaysia Pro Wrestling (MyPW) Wrestlecon Champion is set to fight men in the ring.
The 19-year old petite girl clad in a hijab might look like your neighbourhood girl but sporting round-rimmed glasses and geared in her sports attire, she is the country’s first hijabi pro wrestler, who fights both men and women in the ring.
Nor Diana first started training as a wrestler in late 2015, following her teenage dream of becoming a fighter and made her debut a few months later. Outside, the ring she is a softspoken girl who spends her day working at the hospital.
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3 years ago I made my debut in Kuash Theatre and didn't win. Fast forward 3 years later, I stand in the ring, victorious, as the new @mypwrestling Wrestlecon Champion. I want to say thank you to @ayezshaukatfonseka for believing in me since the day first day I set my foot inside the ring. Without your guidance and coaching, I wouldn't be where I am today. To the fans, thank you. Thank you for all the love and support that you've continuously given to me and MyPW. Thank you so much for attending Fightback last night. It means a lot to us at MyPW. We do this out of passion – we do this because of you guys, the MyPW Nation. Once again, thank you from the bottom of my heart. And to everyone that asked: What's next for Phoenix? Well, to answer that, this is only a beginning. No one has seen what Nor 'Phoenix' Diana is fully capable of. There is a new champion. This is the beginning of a new era. . . . This post cannot end without me thanking the biggest part of my success, The MyPW family. Thank you for taking me in, treating me as your own. Thank you for helping me and guiding me for the last 3 years. I wouldn't have made it this far, I wouldn't have garnered all these skills without you guys.❤️ picture credit @thesundaily / Asyraf Rasid
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She may have emerged as a fierce Pheonix but her path to rise above and do the extraordinary wasn’t easy.
Initially, she competed wearing a phoenix mask, to reduce the chances of people recognising her. But after losing a match last year she removed it and has been competing without one ever since.
“Before, I only wrestled with my mask because it was part of my identity, and I was afraid of societal judgment against me as a hijabi, but I decided to unmask last year in December. It felt like a new identity,” she said.
Wrestling as a sport is gaining momentum across the world. But this 19-year-old dynamite sure sets an example, letting people all over the world know that it is imperative to do what you love in spite of your religious beliefs.