18-year-old becomes first female Muslim jockey to win major race: ‘I love proving people wrong’

Metro Lifestyle 1 month ago
Khadijah Mellah riding her horse
‘When I’m riding, I feel like I can accomplish anything’ (Picture: Mark Cranham/focusonracing.com)

18-year-old Khadijah Mellah, from Peckham, made British history and global headlines in August when she became the first British female Muslim jockey to win a major race.

She took the historic victory at the Magnolia Cup, and now a new documentary will document her incredible rise to the top.

The show, Riding a Dream, will document Khadijah’s journey from learning to ride at Ebony Horse Club in Brixton to her victory at Goodwood, including a gruelling four-month training process.

Coming from an area in London with some of the highest concentrations of child poverty in the UK, horse riding was not on Khadijah’s radar growing up – but she’s delighted to have been given the opportunity to inspire others.

‘I love proving people wrong when it comes to what a Muslim girl can or can’t do,’ Khadijah tells Metro.co.uk.

‘For someone like me to have won a horse race and made history for British female Muslims feels very important. I hope that other young women will see my story and be motivated and determined to achieve their goals too.’

Khadijah has been riding at Ebony Horse Club in Brixton every week for more than six years. She just loves being around horses and the personal challenge that riding presents.

‘After sitting my A Levels I moved to Newmarket to ride out in the mornings and exercise the horses with other jockeys,’ she explains. ‘To get my race riding and fitness to where it needed to be, I needed to ride as often as possible.

Khadijah Mellah riding her horse
‘For someone like me to have won a horse race and made history for British female Muslims feels very important’ (Picture: Mark Cranham/focusonracing.com)

‘Riding a racehorse is quite different from riding the horses at Ebony Horse Club, racehorses are athletes so are built differently, they’re fitter and stronger than the horses I had been used to riding so I had to learn a new technique.’

On top of this, Khadijah also had to complete rigorous fitness tests to make sure she was up for competing. She had regular assesments and tough training sessions to get her to where she needed to be. But she knows it was worth it.

‘Being able to prove that you can achieve your dreams and change perceptions is important to me, so this has been great motivation to continue making a change and inspire other women,’ says Khadijah.

‘When I’m riding, I feel like I can accomplish anything, and I think all young women and girls should be able to feel like that.

‘Riding also gives you this amazing sense of independence because you learn how to care for another being and how to be responsible. Horses are amazing, gentle animals so they can bring a lot of joy to life.’

Ahead of the release of the documentary Khadijah had a special meeting with her hero, Egyptian runner and founder of online community Surviving Hijab, Manal Rostom.

Like Khadijah, Manal, is using sport to break down social stereotypes and empower young women and hijab wearers to follow their dreams.

The documentary explores the benefits that Ebony Horse Club is providing for young people in Brixton, and culminates at the Qatar Goodwood Festival as Khadijah takes her place among a field of 11 other competitors in the Magnolia Cup.

The film, directed by Tom Bolwell and Mattia Reiniger and produced by Oli Bell and his brother Philip Bell, will be released in early autumn.

For now, Khadijah is focusing on starting her university degree, but she wants to keep riding and hopes to one day get her jockey’s license.

‘I also hope I can continue to push myself to try new things, broaden my horizons and inspire other women.’

Source link
Read also:
Telegraph › 1 month ago
Hollie Doyle is just seven winners short of becoming the third female Flat jockey to ride 100 winners in a calendar year but on Saturday she also has the chance of becoming the first to ride a winner on Qipco British Champions Day when she partners the...
Evening Standard › Sports › 3 weeks ago
The first British Muslim woman to win a UK horse race has said she is glad to be helping to break down stereotypes.
USA Today › Sports › 1 month ago
A horse went down in the stretch and tossed jockey Mario Gutierrez in the eighth race at Santa Anita
Telegraph › 2 days ago
A jockey who answered an owner’s Twitter SOS to ride his horse at Lingfield ended up riding her first winner of the season on Tuesday.
The Sun › Sports › 3 weeks ago
Cillin Leonard is making waves. The 23-year-old jockey burst on to the National Hunt scene with an emphatic victory at Cheltenham last weekend – on just his first ride at the Gloucestershire track. Taking the reins on Duke Street for new boss Dr...
The Sun › Sports › 1 week ago
JOCKEY Raquel Clark has reportedly regained consciousness after a horror fall in Australia on Saturday. Clark fell from Goodgee after finishing fifth in race seven and was knocked unconscious. She was transported to the Royal Adelaide Hospital for...
The Sun › Sports › 1 week ago
JOCKEY Raquel Clark has reportedly regained consciousness after a horror fall in Australia on Saturday. Clark fell from Goodgee after finishing fifth in race seven at Morphettville and was knocked unconscious from the impact. Goodgee clipped heels with...
The Guardian › Incident › 2 months ago
• 37-year-old rider banned from driving for five years• ‘It’s an awful shame because he’s a very talented lad’The talented but troubled jockey Graham Gibbons has been jailed, following his fourth conviction for drink driving. The verdict...
The Guardian › Sports › 1 month ago
The 24-year-old who will be crowned champion jockey on Saturday discusses weighing-room hard knocks and the long journey to his finest moment
The Sun › Sports › 1 month ago
A FORMER top Irish jockey has made a dramatic return to his beloved sport after threatening to take his own life. Paddy Merrigan made waves as a promising rider in the UK where he competed alongside Ruby Walsh and Tony McCoy. But the 32-year-old’s...
Sign In

Sign in to follow sources and tags you love, and get personalized stories.

Continue with Google