Maria Toorpakai

Maria Toorpakai

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.