Pakistan’s Rabia Shahzad wins silver at Singapore weightlifting championship

20-year-old lifts 106kgs to end second behind Singaporean athlete


Natasha Raheel March 09, 2019
PHOTO: Rabia Shahzad

KARACHI: Pakistan's Rabia Shahzad made the country proud as she bagged a silver medal at the Singapore National Open Weightlifting Championship 2019 on Saturday.

The feat is incredible for the 20-year-old as she was without any coach or manager and made the effort to enter in the competition on her own, however, she found help from a Malaysian coach there, which she is grateful for.

She was second to a Singaporean athlete as she lifted a total of 106kgs weight, while Hong Kong finished third.

Rabia really did beat the odds in more ways than one, for example, she had to go into the competition just the day after her 25-hour flight from Karachi to Singapore.

"Today I had this competition and I flew in the day before. I am glad I've gotten this medal," Rabia told The Express Tribune. "I am all alone, without a coach or manager, so this is my first time like this, and I feel I've organised myself well before the competition began too.

"I did find people to be exceptionally helpful. A Malaysian coach came to my help and advised me well, while other athletes, from Singapore  helped me take the pictures with the medal and everything. It was a great experience."

Before the tournament, however, Rabia had trained hard on her own in Karachi, in her own dining room, where she has set-up a place to practice.

Rabia lifted 44kgs in snatch and 62kgs in clean and jerk in Singapore to accumulate the total of 106kg. Her own weight is 55kgs.

But in practice she said she was lifting 65kg in clean and jerk and 47kg in snatch.

"I have been training well, I was able to lift 65kgs and then 47kgs in snatch, but the Malaysian coach advised me to go for 44kgs in snatch as I should not take a risk. I do feel I could've pushed it to 46kgs in snatch, but I'm happy with the result," explained Rabia.

She added that her best moment was during clean and jerk.

"By the time it reaches to clean and jerk it gets exhausting," said Rabia. "I was a little tired too, and I held it for a while, that lift, so everyone present there cheered for me. It was a memorable moment."

The event had 22 women participants and 43 male weightlifters in open competitions.

When asked what would Rabia's message for young women be, as her achievement came just a day after the international women's day, she said: "I just want to say to the women that marriage is not the ultimate goal, that women are made to believe," said Rabia.

"A human, a person can make their own destiny. I just want to say that women should opt for physical and financial independence. The confidence comes with it. Male dependence is not healthy. There's more to life than marriage. And make sure they have worked to build their physical strength so that they should not be perceived weak, so that they can stand for themselves. We can make our own destiny; one has to just work hard for it.”

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