KARACHI: As Pakistan’s weightlifting contingent travels to Singapore for the Oceania Classic Championships and Pacific Invitationals, debutant powerlifter Saniha Ghafoor feels it is high time that the country’s women make a mark in the sport.
“To make a successful debut is very important, especially as a female Pakistani power-lifter,” said Saniha, who will be competing in the 57kg event. “It’s more than what we can ask for at the moment. I’m making my debut and I’m glad I have other female players in the team who have won medals. If I can bench 160kg, I know I can win gold. I’m aiming for nothing less.”
Saniha knows better than to be complacent about though. “It is important to train constantly; both powerlifting and weightlifting are challenging sport, I find weightlifting to be easier and of course powerlifting is something which I’ve just started. However, both are strength sports and require top form,” she said.
Along with Saniha, 2015 Asian Championship gold medallist Twinkle Sohail will be representing the country in the 72kg category, Rabia Razzaq will be in the 84kg competition while Sybil Sohail will be showing her talent in 47kg. The four-woman contingent makes it Pakistan’s biggest in any powerlifting event.
In the men’s categories, Mehmood Hera and teenager Muhammad Ahmed Khan will represent Pakistan in 120kg, Syed Nadeem Hashmi will lift in the 105kg event and Pakistan Powerlifting Federation (PPF) secretary Rashed Malik will be in action in the masters three category for above 60-year-old players.
“We’ve had this image of Pakistan that we can’t produce quality female powerlifters, we feel that this championship will certainly change that image,” said Malik.
The championships in Singapore will be featuring 148 athletes from different countries including Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and China among others.