'Armed with a squash racket and enormous will, Maria Toorpakai has risen from the turmoil of tribal life in Pakistan to become not only a world-class athlete, but a true inspiration, a pioneer for millions of other women struggling to pave their own paths to autonomy, fulfilment and genuine personhood' Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner
Maria Toorpakai Wazir has lived her life disguised as a boy, defying the Taliban, in order to pursue her love of sport. Coming second in a national junior weightlifting event for boys, Maria decided to put her future in her own hands by going in disguise. When she discovered squash and was easily beating all the boys, life became more dangerous.
Heart-stopping and profoundly moving, Maria shares the story of her long road and eventual triumph, pursuing the sport she loved, defying death threats and following her dream.
Born in 1990 to a Pashtun family in South Waziristan, a tribal region bordering Afghanistan, Maria is currently ranked fifty-fourth in the world and is Pakistan Number One at squash. The only way Maria could play sport as a girl was to disguise herself as a boy. When her gender was eventually revealed in order for her to train professionally in squash, Maria and her family received death and kidnap threats, as her actions were perceived as 'un-Islamic'. The Pakistani national squash federation provided security for her home and training venue, but Maria decided it was a safer option to seek an opportunity to train internationally. Maria lives and trains in Toronto, Canada, under former professional squash player Jonathon Power.
Chapter - 1: Prologue Chapter - 2: Between the Mountains Chapter - 3: The Mullah Chapter - 4: An Unlikely Bride Chapter - 5: Genghis Khan Chapter - 6: Bhutto's Muse Chapter - 7: The Wall Chapter - 8: the City of Guns Chapter - 9: Deities, Temples and Angels Chapter - 10: Out of the Tribal Lands Chapter - 11: The Capital of Empires Chapter - 12: I Am Maria Chapter - 13: Playing Like a Girl Chapter - 14: Smoking Scorpions Chapter - 15: Rupees for My Mother Chapter - 16: The Giver of Treasure Chapter - 17: Number One Chapter - 18: In the Crosshairs Chapter - 19: Purdah Chapter - 20: Breakbone Fever Chapter - 21: Liberty Bell Chapter - 22: Epilogue: One Thousand Marias Acknowledgements - 23: Acknowledgments Chapter - 24: About the Authors Chapter - 25: A Letter about MariaToorpakai.org