“I own many pairs of heels,” she declared rather unapologetic, before quickly adding. “I also do love pink!”
With her hair tied in tight ponytail by a hairband of her favourite colour, Nurshahidah Roslie gave me the broadest smile as she shared something that people might find unexpected about herself. Next to her sat Tiffany Teo, a calm and collected individual who seemingly gave the question a deliberate thought before replying, “I was studying psychology before starting this. I hope to one day return to it though.”
It was mid-day on a Thursday when I paid these two Singaporean athletes a visit to pick their brains on what it is like being women in a male-dominant sport in lieu of their matches at the Singapore Fighting Championship happening next week.
Headlining the upcoming championship is Nurshahidah “The Sniper” Roslie, who exudes an unbashful spirit of poise and confidence that you would expect in Singapore’s first female professional boxer. Alongside is the MMA portion of the championship, showcasing the diverse fighting styles Tiffany “The Soul Crusher” Teo possesses that is nothing like the serene character she embodies.
Coincidentally, both fighters started out during their school days before turning this hobby into a full-fledged career, something they have never looked back since. The gruelling regiments that one would imagine these women have to go through is more or less accurate. Physical, strategy, skills are a few aspects of a fight preparation, followed by the last factor – the mental preparation for the match itself.
“Even after so many fights, the nerves still get to me as the match draws near,” Nurshahidah admitted. “And also it depends on what you’re fighting for.” “The Sniper” is actually gunning for UBO Female International Continental Super Featherweight Title against Thailand. If she wins, Nurshahidah would claim the title of Singapore’s first female boxing champion.
With that saying, fighting is still deemed as a male-dominant sport and causes people to raise their eyebrows when a woman dabbles in it. From being comfortable to full body contact with male counterparts, to toughing it out during the time of the month, surprisingly both of our female fighters shared that they have garnered substantial support from families, friends and the public.
“The most I get from people when I tell them that I’m MMA fighter, is that they will say – oh, so you’re going to beat me up?” Tiffany lamented while Nurshahidah laughed in agreement. “And usually the people who give these comments are guys.”
Speaking of getting physical, both Tiffany and Nurshahidah would like to remind people out there that there is still a woman behind this tough façade. They do indulge in feminine things and fighting is just a passion that take very seriously.
As the conversation draws to a close, the female fighters were asked what they hope to get out of pursuing this combat sport other than personal gains and achievements. To which, both Nurshahidah and Tiffany agreed that they want to pave the way for more younger girls to take on this sport, and inspire them to be bold and pursue it fiercely till they reach great heights.
Once again, Nurshahidah “The Sniper” Roslie and Tiffany “The Soul Crusher” Teo – our millennial inspirations.
Tickets for Singapore Fighting Championship 3 (10 June) are on sale here