Powerlifting quartet ready for Pakistan’s Asian challenge

Published: September 13, 2018
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PHOTO: RASHED MALIK

PHOTO: RASHED MALIK

KARACHI  : Pakistani women are ready to register a unique record in the history books.

Sohail sisters will be making history as the four girls will represent Pakistan at the Asian Powerlifting and Bench Press Men and Women Championship in Dubai this month.

While Twinkle became the first Pakistani woman to win a medal at the Asian Powerlifting championship in 2015, she has inspired a generation of women, but firstly her own sisters to begin their careers as powerlifters and weightlifters.

Twinkle and her sisters Maryam, Sybil, and Veronika are all a part of the nine-member female squad for the championship, which in itself is another record for Pakistan, as the biggest female contingent from the country had been of seven girls at the 2016 South Asian Games.

“It is all four of us and it is something that I feel great about,” Twinkle told The Express Tribune. “I stepped into the world of weightlifting and powerlifting and then my sisters started to take interest in it too, and I must say that our coach Rashed Malik had played a big part in training us.”

Meanwhile, Malik added that although it is a bigger tournament compared to past years with 600 participants and 43 countries being featured in Dubai, Twinkle stepped down from her spot in the seniors’ event and gladly gave the spot to her sister.

She will be competing in the 72 kg event giving her space to her sister Maryam who will go on to participate in the seniors category, while twinkle will stay in the juniors’ event.

Sybil will compete in seniors’ 52kg event, whereas the youngest Veronika will make her international debut in the U16, 47kg event.

According to Twinkle, the credit certainly goes to her mother who manages home and the diets of the girls, as they train throughout the year.

“We only get off on Christmas,” said Twinkle since they train in Lahore. “Our coach tells us that you cannot win a medal if you take off from training and it is true. But our mother is a pillar; she lets us train and takes care of the house, our diets and everything. She is so proud of it all, so are my father and brother. She has our back.”

Meanwhile, within the squad there is record holder Saniha Ghafoor in the senior and junior 57kg, having the toughest draw to get through, while Karachi’s first weightlifter and powerlifter Rabia Shehzad will participate in the junior 52kg event.

Nadia Maqsood will be in the 72kg senior event, whereas Rabia Razzaq will compete in the 84kg category and the coach Malik and Nuzhat Jabeen will take part in the master II category event which is for athletes ranging from 50-59 years of age.

“We need medals,” said Malik. “They are important. Our weightlifters couldn’t get medals at the Asian Games, but I’m hoping the girls would. We’ve entered their names very strategically. Twinkle is a favourite to win her category and we are hoping for the best from the rest of the squad too, like Shehzad can be on the podium.”

On the other hand, among men Syed Nadeem Hashmi will be representing the country in the 105kg masters 1 category that is for above 40 players, Jahanzeb Iqbal will compete in the Open category and Shahzeb Iqbal will be in masters 1 event.

 

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