Iconic Women

Turkish Taekwondo Champion, Kübra Dağli

By Aisha Kabiru Mohammed | May 11, 2023

Kübra Dağlı is a Turkish Taekwondo world champion in the freestyle duo poomsae category. 

According to Phoenix Taekwondo:

Taekwondo patterns (Poomsae in Korean or Kata for martial arts like Karate) are a sequence of Taekwondo techniques linked together into a pattern of moves. 

Dağlı was born in Istanbul, Turkey in 1996. In 2016, she won a gold medal in the over-18 category with partner Emirhan Muran at the 10th World Poomsae Championships in Peru. 

She also won a gold or silver medal at every national championship in the category between 2018 and 2020. Kubra comes from a family of sportsmen. Her father is a boxer.

In an interview with Redbull, Dağlı mentioned that she had been training since she was 12 years old. 

She is an expert in the non-competitive 'poomsae' discipline. Poomsae is a non-competitive event in which individuals or teams perform a "sequence of movements arranged in a meaningful order in response to attacks from multiple fictitious assailants."

In a statement given by Red bull

"I go to training every morning at 5 a.m., I practice twice a day, and I prepare for the tournament ahead of me," Dal says. "You're most afraid of failure, so I'm not going to give up this hard work."

Dağlı has dominated various editions of the Turkish Taekwondo Poomsae Championship, winning and finishing the second year after year.

She received extensive media coverage for days after her victory, particularly for competing in taekwondo while wearing a headscarf. "They don't speak of my success, but of my headscarf," she wrote on social media. This is not something I want. Our accomplishments should be discussed."

Asu Maro, a columnist for the Milliyet newspaper, documented the two sources of criticism Dağlı faced: Muslims who saw taekwondo as inappropriate for women, and secular organizations who wanted her to remove her head covering during competitions. Both groups, she said, have "sexist ideologies" that are harmful to her and other Muslim female athletes. Taekwondo's international governing bodies allow headscarves, though Dal said she had to wear a bandana instead of a scarf.

She has been open about her desire to be recognized as an athlete before her faith identity. Her training video, which shows the various ways she prepares for competitions, has gone viral.