[TW: discussion around suicide]
This week's guest, Ramla Ali, is the first Somali boxer ever to compete at the Olympic Games. Ramla was born in Mogadishu, shortly before the outbreak of a brutal civil war. After her eldest brother was killed by a grenade while playing in the garden, the family embarked on a perilous journey to leave - first to Kenya, where they survived on Unicef food rations, and later to the UK where they claimed asylum.
In London, Ramla first took up boxing to lose weight while a teenager, and tried to keep it a secret from her Muslim relatives. But her love of boxing was stronger than any family disapproval, and she kept at it, winning her first fight in 2011. Since then she’s graduated with a First in Law from SOAS University in London, become an Elle covergirl (she models part-time to make enough money to support her boxing career) and written her first book: Not Without A Fight, which is out tomorrow.
Ramla joins me to talk about her failures as a bullied teenager at school, her failure to win an Olympic medal and her failure to be there for her best friend Danika when she was going through severe mental health issues. It’s a brave and honest discussion that reflects Ramla’s courage in the ring as well as out of it.
Not Without A Fight: Ten Steps to Becoming Your Own Champion by Ramla Ali is out tomorrow and available to preorder here.
My new novel, Magpie, is out now. You can order it here.
How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you. To contact us, email email@example.com
Ramla Ali @ramlaali
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How To Fail @howtofailpod