National Championship winner Shaheen Ansari is now the first World Referee for Karate in the World Championship that is taking place in Linz, Austria. The results of the World Karate Federation Referee exams came out in October and she has been inducted as Referee A at the world level. She is not just the first woman to have completed the course in India and South Asia, but only the second woman in the entire continent.

Now, in the capacity of Referee A, she can referee at the prestigious Asian Games and World Championship. WKF is the largest governing body in the sport, which is also recognised by the International Olympic Committee.

“It was rare for a person from my community to pursue Karate. But my family and my husband’s family were open-minded and supported me,” Shaheen, vice-chairperson of the referee commission of the Karate Association of India (KAI), told DNA.

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The seventh-degree black belt holder explained the process of becoming a referee, “To qualify as Referee A (senior-most referee in Karate), you need to give six exams—two for kata and four for kumite—at the continent and world levels.”

She added, “You can afford to get only seven out of 70 questions, wrong. For the practicals, we have to referee six bouts of matches with 10 examiners watching and writing our scores.”

Shaheen has won many championships. She has won state championship several times and become the national champion. She was trained by a former national champion, who also became her husband, Salauddin Ansari. Shaheen, who retired in 2010, has two children who are both at fifth degree of Karate as of now and have won the national championship.

Currently, she is the senior-most Karateka in the country and is the member of WKF. She represented the country in two global events — The Commonwealth Championship in Scotland and World Championship in Tokyo. After retirement and before becoming a referee, Shaheen was taking Karate workshops in schools and also ran privately-owned classes to teach the martial art to kids.

Picture credit- SAKA