It’s always good to set your eyes on the biggest goal possible. But how about trying to become the first female from your home country to compete in boxing at the Olympic Games? We sat down with Ramla Ali, who is looking to do exactly that, for a Q and A session to hear about what she’s achieved so far and the future…

Q: Congratulations on your third win of this year, as well as being awarded Best Female of the Tournament – what a way to conclude 2018! Can you describe the moment they announced your win?
A: To have my arm raised for a third tournament Gold medal this year was incredible, it’s a really difficult feeling to describe but it’s as if time stands still just for a split second. Tournaments can be real bitter sweet experience, It was my eighth win of the year but it’s only really in those finals when you win Gold that it really hits you the most.

Q: As we look back on this past year, what’s been your proudest achievement?
A: Becoming the first female boxer to have represented Somalia in history was a pretty unbelievable moment for me and to have held that flag at The World Championships of all places was very special.
Q: What’s one piece of advice you’ve been given that’s stayed with you through the years?
A: “Sometimes life if about risking everything for a dream no one can see but you”

Q: It’s been a pleasure training you in our chamber for the past couple of months – do you feel as if the altitude chamber helped you come closer to your goals? If so, how/in what way?
A: Without question, training in the altitude chamber has been an incredible asset for me. This year was probably my most important to date having made the decision to focus full time on boxing and compete solely within the international scene. With this decision comes harder training and a much higher level of competition. The altitude chamber has allowed me to reach a much greater level of cardiovascular capability and in turn made sure I have been in peak fitness all year round.
Q: Throughout the year, we’ve heard of some narrow losses where the result could’ve been swayed either way. What do you do to pick yourself back up time and time again?
A: It’s true I’ve been on the wrong end of three split decisions this year which were my three losses of 2018. My coach insists on me having one day to be sad and feel sorry for myself but no more than that. In all honesty though both of us have learnt more from those three loses then all of my wins put together. Those losses dictate my new monthly training program, the new style we might work on, the type of sparring partners we get in, the duration of training sessions. Everything really. So Its not the wins that make me better it’s the losses. I take huge comfort in knowing this. I wont lose to those women again either, I can be sure of that.

Q: As 2019 approaches, what sights have you set on for the year to come?
A: I have even more international tournaments scheduled this year and three major championships including All African Games, African Boxing Championships & The World Championships. Making 2019 the busiest boxing year I will ever have probably in my life. The World Championships in late 2019 will be the first opportunity to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games as well.