Ruqsana Begum is the British Muay Thai Kickboxing Champion who has been nominated to carry the torch for her work in the East London community. Ruqsana is the first Muslim Bengali female to become a British Champion in what is considered to be one of the hardest martial arts. Having been shortlisted for Sportswoman of the Year in this year's Muslim Women in Sport Awards, Ruqsana is a role model for women, young people and Muslims alike as she overcame many obstacles in her sporting career due to her religious and cultural background.
Ruqsana gained her first major medal at the World Amateur Championships in Bangkok in 2009 and since then has gone on to win a gold medal at the European Amateur Championships. Ruqsana is currently in training for the World Championships in September where she is hoping to bring back gold.
As well as working for two days a week as a science technician, Ruqsana is an ambassador for the charity Fight for Peace, which uses boxing as a prevention and rehabilitation model to confront the problem of child and youth participation in crime, gangs and gun violence within disadvantaged communities.