It is rightly observed that powerlifting is not for the faint-hearted. Grit, determination and focus is the hallmark of any powerlifter. Therefore, no wonder that female powerlifters are a force to be reckoned with because women are naturally known for their perseverance and resilience. So here are three women powerlifters who fought against odds to carve a niche in their chosen field and life at the same time.
Single mother, Biochemist student, Gym trainer - Fathema Dhoondia wears many different hats. Fathema, a 32-year-old champion powerlifter said that soon after her marriage ended she fell into a depression, and to cope with the same she joined a gym. This helped her gain weight and also improve her mental health.
She excelled in the powerlifting sport and won several awards like the Best Lifter Award in full powerlifting in WPC Nationals, Bangalore, April 2021, Best Lifter Award in Only Deadlift event in WPC Nationals, Bangalore, April 2021 and 3 gold medals in Full Powerlifting, Only Deadlift, and Only Bench-press Events at WPC Nationals, Bangalore, April 2021, 3× World Record in Squat (112.5kgs), Deadlift (145kgs), and total 307.5kgs at AWPC WorldCup,
Moscow, December 2019, Strongwoman Full Powerlifting in AWPC World Cup, Moscow, Russia, December 2019, Gold Medal in Full Powerlifting and Deadlift Event, Bench Press Event in AWPC World Cup, Moscow, Russia, December 2019.
"I want to encourage and motivate a lot of women to enter this sport, I strongly believe that females are also capable of excelling at this male-dominated sport," Fathema said.
Fathema has been awarded as the Strongwoman in Full Powerlifting in the Asian AWPC Championship, Chelyabinsk, Russia, in July 2019. She won 2 gold medals AWPC/WPC separately in Full Powerlifting and on the Only Deadlifts organised in Chelyabinsk, Russia in July 2019. Apart from this, she has numerous awards and recognition to her credit such as World record in squats, (92.5kgs) WPC Asians, Chelyabinsk, Russia, July 2019.
Another similar achiever is Nivya Nizar, a 26-year-old powerlifter who has won second place in the WPC National Powerlifting Championship in the 58 Kg weight class by lifting up 120 Kg. Sharing her amazing journey Nivya said, " I started my fitness journey about 5 years back aiming to lose weight. Slowly, it became more important for me to feel stronger. That's when I moved to powerlifting. I strongly believe every woman should take weight lifting training. They should understand that lifting weight is not harmful to health and doesn’t make you huge! Lifting heavy weights will help you gain strength which in turn boosts your confidence."
Nivya has completed BBA and is currently, associated with Vijo Fitness and lifestyle, Dubai as a strength and conditioning coach.
Sharing her inspirational story is Powerlifter Gulshan Banu Kazi. She said, "I used to be obese and suffered from Rheumatoid Arthritis. I started lifting weight and eating right to lose weight. As she was interested in the sport of Powerlifting her coach Raju Pal and Mohammad Azmat gave her professional guidance.
Gulshan Banu won the Best Lifter Award for the highest total and 4 gold medals at the WPC National Championship in Bangalore in April 2021. She broke the Deadlift record there for open as well as master age categories.
Expressing her future plans she said that she wants to represent India at WPC International Championship and emerge a winner.
The 20th episode of the ‘Amazing people’ series by News Karnataka will be held on Friday April 23 at 6:30pm and will feature the above three women achievers from the powerlifting sport.
The programme will be hosted by CA Valerian Dalmaida, Mentor, Spearhead Media Group with Rajesh Sequeira as the co-host. The three speakers in the discussion would include Gulshan Kazi, Athlete, Sharjah, Fatema Dhoondia power lifter and fitness coach from Mumbai and Nivya Nizar, Athlete and trainer from Dubai.
A live stream from Dubai will be telecast on the official YouTube channel and Facebook page of NewsKarnataka.com where the guests will participate in the QA discussion.
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