Blog

Blogging in the time of more Islamophobia + updates + Olympics

Posted by on Aug 14, 2016 in Blog, Competition, News & Updates, Press Coverage | Comments Off on Blogging in the time of more Islamophobia + updates + Olympics

Blogging in the time of more Islamophobia + updates + Olympics

I thought to use a different title vs hello everyone, here is another blog post condensing everything that has happened over the past half year 🙂  This time, only 5 months have passed since the last one in March 2016.

Though the Asian Weightlifting competition did not work out and therefore no Olympic representation, this year in Rio there are some nice stories and diversity.   In some cases, I think, too much emphasis on what a woman is wearing or how she is described, versus her athletic feats and accomplishments, unfortunately.  Some examples Ibtihaj Muhammad, and the Egyptian volleyball team.

Read More

March 2016 Musings & Fundraiser Update

Posted by on Mar 5, 2016 in Blog, News & Updates | Comments Off on March 2016 Musings & Fundraiser Update

March 2016 Musings & Fundraiser Update

I am sorry and sad to say that it is confirmed that no team of Pakistani women will be registered for the 2016 Asian Weightlifting Championships. Thanks to everyone for the support. I have refunded everyone’s donations. I hope to be able to help in some other capacity with the general issues of women’s empowerment and sports that we still struggle with. There has been improvement, but there is still a long road for more progress and support is always needed, not just monetary. If you are interested in helping out in the future, please let me know, send me your email address, and I can add you to an email list to keep you updated (in addition to the usual social media posts on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram and I am also on LinkedIn).

Below is an archive of the fundraiser page I had at LaunchGood.com. I also edited a cool and emotional trailer video for it which you will also see below. The page was active February 2016.

Read More

2015 Highlights & Happy New Year to 2016

Posted by on Dec 30, 2015 in Blog, Competition, News & Updates, Press Coverage | 1 comment

2015 Highlights & Happy New Year to 2016

This year has been so action-packed, that I didn’t even get the chance to update my blog properly this whole year, oops – I did it one more time!

From the Ride for Rights, to Saris to Suits to being on Buzzfeed – it’s been a very eventful time in my life, but here are some of my highlights in 2015: (click to read the entire post)

Read More

January – September 2014: Condensed Updates

Posted by on Sep 16, 2014 in Blog, Competition, News & Updates, Press Coverage | Comments Off on January – September 2014: Condensed Updates

January – September 2014: Condensed Updates

I haven’t written a post since January of this year.  8 months! I have been better at putting updates on my Facebook page.  I have had a lot of things going on since then and below is a summary —

Causes
Award
Conference Panel
Write-Ups

Women’s Encyclopedia

Competition

Read More

Pakistan Four – Documentary teaser trailer

Posted by on Jan 15, 2014 in Blog, News & Updates | Comments Off on Pakistan Four – Documentary teaser trailer

Pakistan Four – Documentary teaser trailer

Here is the teaser trailer for The Pakistan Four – Documentary.  I am one of the 4 ladies in it. It will premiere at the New York University (NYU) Film Festival, February 8-9, 2014 in New York City, NY, USA. If you are in NYC or can make it, please attend. Seating is limited, so please contact the Facebook page if you are interested in attending.  Thanks for your support!  More information is on the Facebook and Twitter (@thepakistanfour) page.

46155_498902146893524_1292765077_n

If you are interested in a showing of the documentary in your city in the USA, preferably before the end of February 2014, please contact me.  Also showing the documentary in any part of the world (not only in Pakistan), is possible. Shehzad Hameed Ahmad, the filmmaker, is willing to travel anywhere with short notice.  He just needs to be hosted – plane ticket and a place to stay.  He does not have a goal of making a profit off the documentary, so the documentary can be viewed for free, but if there needs to be a ticket charge to help collect funds for hosting the documentary, that is OK.  It took a lot of blood, sweat & tears on everyone’s part, especially the filmmaker Shehzad. Hopefully the film can be shown in other cities, bringing an audience together to view, foster discussion and ultimately create positive change and dispel stereotypes.

2014 & going forward

Since my last competition September 21, 2013, I have not competed but have been re-focusing my training.  One major portion is working on fixing technique issues, doing volume to help make the improved technique more consistent (requiring less thinking on my part), the movement more fluent, and timing improved.  Shelly Truesdell has been coaching me in person since August 2013, and in this short amount of time, I feel I have made a lot of progress.  Travis Cooper continues to write my workouts, especially on the days I train alone without Shelly, and based on how my training is going and evolving, part of it based on the years we did work together in person.  How you train is something that I believe should be individualized for each person and having a good coach is valuable.

Weightlifting is a challenging sport, there are ups and downs, and there is the emotional and mental aspect that also needs to be fought.  I have been working on this, and I am getting better at dealing with it.  I am focusing on being positive, but realistic and eliminating negative thoughts.  I also have been continuing spending most of my time in research work, learning and applying the learning for my job search.  When you have other life responsibilities, they need to be taken into consideration in regards to your recovery, rest and how you perform and train.  As things progress, I might post some training videos again, and eventually one of a future competition!

НА ПОМОСТ В ЗАКРЫТОМ КОСТЮМЕ – article

Thanks a lot to Davit Sargsyan for this article about me that he wrote in Russian about my story. It is over at ShopOlympic in Russia – managed by WL competitor Armen Ghazaryan.

Salaam (peace)!

Read More

Emory Weightlifting Classic – September 21, 2013

Posted by on Sep 27, 2013 in Blog, Competition, Gallery | Comments Off on Emory Weightlifting Classic – September 21, 2013

Emory Weightlifting Classic – September 21, 2013

It has been a while since I competed, and I bombed out at the last two, so this past competition at Emory was more for me to get my confidence back, and help me mentally and emotionally. Shelly Truesdell has been coaching me for a few weeks (she’s been a big help, it makes a difference to have coaching and moral support in person), whenever we both can, and continuing training programming template by Travis Cooper.

We decided on taking conservative attempts, especially for the 1st attempts. This was the first time I had some family and friends (outside of weightlifting) spectating. As usual, there was some drama, such as, an unexpected road block on Emory campus, due to a race. I was going in circles finding the right parking lot near the athletic center where the competition was held. I ended up parking at the visitors parking lot that was the farthest away. A kind stranger also parked in the lot, helped us out by personally driving us to the entrance to the athletic center. With his help, I was able to make it just in time to register and compete. I actually walked very swiftly, but the inner adrenaline helped, in spite of my shaky hands, and I was able to hit 5/6 lifts.

Here is the video compilation of my lifts (embedded Youtube link)

Read More

Ramadan 1434 AH/2013

Posted by on Jul 12, 2013 in Blog, News & Updates, Training, Training Videos | 2 comments

Ramadan 1434 AH/2013

Training and June/July 2013 Training Video with music by Khumariyaan

My Ramadan Resources

Resources from Fit Muslimah & Amna AlHaddad

Resources from Stumptuous and BreakingMuscle

General articles for female athletes

Ramadan Embaraksha! (or Ramadan Mubarak/Kareem/Happy)

I wanted to wish everyone a blessed Ramadan. In this post, I have links to some resources, and information that I hope will help.  I always like to post photo-journalist photos, here are Photos of Ramadan 2013 – from The Atlantic, and something humorous 20 Memes to Get You Through Ramadan This Year.

Training

I have changed my training this year, going down to 4 days a week maximum for training. For Ramadan, I might do 3, or see how I feel and what my schedule allows. I will go with lighter reps unless I feel OK going for heavier rep attempts. I will start working out before iftar (fast break/ sunset), but I will be able to break fast/Maghrib then finish the rest of my work out.

As I am working towards finding a full time job (see more on my research projects here) and need to focus on other aspects of my life, I am not spending as much time and resources on weightlifting during 2011 and 2012. I still like to train, and I will compete when and where I can.

Here is a video I put together. I continue using video to help my training, so I have a compilation of clips from June till now. My training has changed a little bit. Travis Cooper, over with Team Muscle Driver USA in South Carolina, is writing my training programming and I am still working out at Coffee’s Gym and getting feedback there too.

Here is a link to the video on Youtube. For those with Youtube bans, here it is from Facebook:

Read More

Southern Open, American Open Tennis Tournament & article

Posted by on May 2, 2013 in Blog, Competition, Gallery, News & Updates | Comments Off on Southern Open, American Open Tennis Tournament & article

Southern Open, American Open Tennis Tournament & article

Atif Moon & the Atlanta Open Tennis Championships a NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tournament, May 3-5, 2013

Those in Atlanta, GA, USA, this weekend, Atif Moon (Pakistani-American living in California, also the co-founder of Center for Global Understanding) will be competing in the Atlanta Open Tennis Championships a NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tournament. Come out and cheer him on! He will start competing this Friday May 3, 2013 & will be here through Sunday.

His first match is Friday 9:30am, then another match at 2pm if he wins the first match (inshALLAH!). Semi-finals will be Saturday, and finals Sunday. Weather forecast for this weekend is high chance of rain, weekend schedule is subject to change. Please check this website for tournament schedule and results. Go to “Draws” and then “Men’s Wheelchair A Singles”, which is the division Atif is in. There will also be a doubles one he plays in when they post the draw.

Read More

Muslim Women in Sport: Culture vs Religion by Fatima Fakier

Posted by on Apr 26, 2013 in Blog, Non USA Press Coverage, Press Coverage | Comments Off on Muslim Women in Sport: Culture vs Religion by Fatima Fakier

Muslim Women in Sport: Culture vs Religion by Fatima Fakier

Original link to the article over at Aquila Style

Muslim Women in Sport: Culture vs Religion

April 26, 2013 12:02 AM by Fatima Fakier

 

In a guest article, Fatima Fakier reports on the cultural and religious influences at play in this often divisive issue and examines the consequences of increased segregation.

The human body was designed for physical activity. Our bodies are perfectly engineered to fulfil our basic needs and to achieve what we set out to do.

Regular exercise stimulates a multitude of networks within our bodies, which benefits all our inner processes from immune-system function to emotional balance. Aside from weight loss, beating depression and combating PMS, women who exercise regularly or play sports tend to have a better body image regardless of their actual shape or size.

Muslim women face many barriers to sports and exercise, such as hijab bans, large-scale poverty and religious intolerance. But one of the biggest barriers originates from within their own communities.

Read More

1st Pakistan Women’s National Weightlifting Championships & War Eagle Open competitions

Posted by on Mar 24, 2013 in Blog, Competition, News & Updates | 7 comments

1st Pakistan Women’s National Weightlifting Championships & War Eagle Open competitions

War Eagle Open March 23, 2013

I have not competed for about 1 year, since Korea April 2012, where I represented Pakistan in the Asian Weightlifting Championships. I also learned about today’s competition only a few days ago, so my training cycle was not programmed for this. I also decided not to compete as a 53kg. I decided to move up from a 48kg to 53kg the end of last summer 2012. My current weight is 54kg, and only having a few days to reduce my salt intake (basically dealing with my water retention issues), start better water drinking habits, deal with weight of my training clothes and the weigh in, I decided to not deal with any of it and just go suck it up and compete as a 58kg!

It has been a while in my training since I started hitting 45kg+ in the Snatch again. It has been a slow road to get my confidence back, while increasing the volume & weight of my training. I wanted to make higher weights for the Clean and Jerk as well, but God willing at the next competition.

My result: Snatch 42kg (successful – did not get this one on video), 45kg (missed), 45kg (missed) Clean and Jerk: 53kg (Successful), 56kg (press out on the jerk), 56kg (successful) Total Score: 98kg (216 lb)

The same video here on my Facebook page (for those who can not access Youtube)

Another local meet is being held at the end of April 2013 in the same city 1 hour driving distance from my house, so I hope to try again there.

Inaugural Pakistan Women’s National Weightlifting Championships March 23, 2013

In very exciting news, the Pakistan Weightlifting Federation held their first Women’s weightlifting Championships in Lahore, Pakistan! Mubarak (Congratulations) to all of the ladies who competed! I wish I could have been there in person. You might recognize the person on the wall behind the platform 😉 I couldn’t believe it when I saw, I feel extremely honored! I am happy that women have started competing there, and I hope the participation continues to grow and move forward. Keep a look out for more media from the competition and other updates in this regard.  Below are embedded pictures from the album on their Facebook page.

Read More

March 2013 Training & Competition + other news

Posted by on Mar 21, 2013 in Blog, Training, Training Videos | 2 comments

March 2013 Training & Competition + other news


Nowruz Mobarak!  نوروز مبارك (Happy Persian New Year)


New short training video compilation (3 minutes), I decided on a Farsi songs for the background.

  1. Man Amadeam من آمده ام by Googoosh گوگوش , an older song 
  2. Joone Khodet (Dokhtar Irooni) by Black Cats – بلک کتس – جون خودت a newer song.

The same video on VIMEO here (in case you can’t access by Youtube) I made some errors on the labeling for the sequence of Cleans, they are 60kg (132 lbs), 61kg (134 lbs), 62kg (136 lbs) and 63kg (138.9 lbs )


Read More

Dec/Jan/Feb 2013 Training Videos & a few updates

Posted by on Feb 24, 2013 in Blog, News & Updates, Training, Training Videos | 1 comment

*For those in countries where Youtube is banned, I have the video uploaded on my Facebook page here.*

Its been almost 3 months since I put together a training video, and due to the delay, this will be a montage of clips from December 2012 till February 2013 with major editing, such as my rests in between repetitions. I am still working on technique, building confidence and as usual, fighting the demons! There are two PRs (personal records) in this video. Usual disclaimer: this is not intended to be an instructional video.

I am using only Pashto (my mother tongue) music in this video. These are the songs that appear (Lyrics and/or translations included in the Youtube video links):

  1. Za Sta Pashan Na Yam (translation: I AM NOT LIKE YOU!) by Naseer & Shahab
  2. Bibi Shireen by Zeek Afridi
  3. Za Pukhtoon Yam (translation: I am Pukhtoon [Pashtoon]) – by Naseer & Shahab – Awesome video here on Youtube & Facebook – This is Naseer & Shahab’s Facebook fan page
Read More

Why I am Not Married 2.0 OR Hear Kulsoom ROAR!

Posted by on Dec 26, 2012 in Blog | 14 comments

Why I am Not Married 2.0 OR Hear Kulsoom ROAR!

Last year, I was invited to an interfaith banquet to be recognized for my efforts in weightlifting clothing accommodation. Busy between competitions and training, I still wanted to attend. The main organizers had supported me and it was a good cause. My friend Hiba went with me as my guest. I didn’t have a formal enough western style dress, instead I wore a Shalwar Kamees (Pakistani style clothing) with headscarf (or hijab). Hiba wore a business suit. A South Asian lady recognized me from an event I spoke at. Conversing with her, I said “this is my friend Hiba.” “Your GIRLFRIEND?!” she exclaimed with a shocked and distorted look on her face. Hiba and I looked at each other, I then turned to her and said, “No, I said this is my FRIEND Hiba.” She said “oh”, and walked away. We realized she thought Hiba was my lesbian girlfriend. Hiba wearing a suit with her hair pulled up, amplified this lady’s suspicions, but wondering who the “man” in our relationship was. Perhaps Hiba wearing the suit, or me, the weightlifter. Hiba is from Sudan, so in addition to thinking we were lesbians, she thought we were in an interracial relationship. This caused us to laugh and joke throughout the banquet. I am sure that lady wiggled her eyebrows like Bert in Sesame Street, thinking to herself, “I KNEW IT!”

Not everyone labels me a lesbian, and some might think, from my version 1.0 blog post (Why am I not Married?), “It’s true, Muslim men are jerks! No wonder Kulsoom is not married!” They CAN be jerks, but so can men of other religions and races.

Read More

November/December Training Video & Updates

Posted by on Dec 13, 2012 in Blog, News & Updates, Training, Training Videos | Comments Off on November/December Training Video & Updates


*This Video will not play on MOBILE phones, here is an alternative video link: http://youtu.be/FCPDqrddiHY
Future videos will not have this issue, as I have identified the problem with Youtube.*

I am continuing with volume training, more days a week, but less reps on each day. I have hit a few PRs, and have made some comeback PRs on my lifts. My video shows some of the PRs (personal records) I have hit, plus some other lifts I am training with.

November: A 60 Kg Power Clean was a PR (personal record), PR for Power clean from the hang position with 60kg, a comeback PR of 70kg Front Squat for 3 reps, and 3 single 60kg split jerk from the blocks. December 3: I matched my PR from over one year ago at 47kg. I attempted 49kg, I was close, but hopefully another time I make that plus more. I also hit a Muscle Snatch PR at 35KG. December 9: 105KG PR on an exercise called a lockout, Top Presses with 60kg, these are assistance, overloading exercises to help with the split jerk.

I have used a variety of music and iMovie editing functions for entertainment. Same disclaimer, I don’t do everything correctly, so don’t use this video as a learning guide. I am improving and learning, and the purpose of the video is to show my progress and have some fun! Check my blog and/or Youtube for past videos.

Ivanhoe Broadcast News
This news package was filmed this past March 2012 by Ivanhoe Broadcast News so a few of the facts are old (such as representing Pakistan).  Video embedded below (and also on their Youtube link)

Read More

PAYC & OC Girl Scouts LA – Nov 9-11th, 2012

Posted by on Nov 26, 2012 in Blog | 1 comment

PAYC & OC Girl Scouts LA – Nov 9-11th, 2012

This post is about my trip to the Pakistan American Youth Conference, November 10th, 2012 in Los Angeles, California, as I mentioned previously in this blog post.

Friday – Arrival, Reunion, Girl Scouts Meeting

Conference Day

Last Day – Brunch Hopping then homeward bound

Full Album

Read More

October 2012 Training Video Compilation part 2

Posted by on Oct 28, 2012 in Blog, Training, Training Videos | Comments Off on October 2012 Training Video Compilation part 2

I have put together a second video of training clips with background music again (Youtube link).   I had to re-upload the video due to music copyright issues and restrictions on playback, so now it sounds like Alvin and the Chipmunks.  It has one PR (personal record)! I am still focusing on technique, strength and volume. I am hopeful that things are starting to click again on my weaknesses.

Read More

Why am I not married?

Posted by on Oct 19, 2012 in Blog | 3 comments

Why am I not married?

Marriage & Singledom

I get this question in various forms, some direct, some indirect. I can see why as not just in my race, culture, religion, but in all, many expect females to be married or partnered by a certain age. But even married, I could get other questions that are commonly asked, such as what do you do, how many kids do you have, what do your kids do, and etc….

Read More

Challenges as a female speaker

Posted by on Oct 17, 2012 in Blog | Comments Off on Challenges as a female speaker

Challenges as a female speaker

 

 

Though the title of this post is about speaking, I am addressing other issues and themes that this also relates to. When I travel (whether it is to compete, speak, attend an event), I meet new people, and experience various reactions to the multiple aspects of my identity. I also learn more about the aspects of my identity as I go into these different situations.

Read More

Sept/2012: Pakistan article, Los Angeles, DC, Houston

Posted by on Oct 11, 2012 in Blog, Gallery, News & Updates | Comments Off on Sept/2012: Pakistan article, Los Angeles, DC, Houston

Sept/2012: Pakistan article, Los Angeles, DC, Houston

Peshawar, Pakistan newspaper article scan

Los Angeles, California November 10, 2012 Saturday – PAKISTANI AMERICAN YOUTH CONFERENCE: Future Leaders Coming Together

State Department Eid ul Fitr reception Sept. 13, 2012, Pictures & Summary (& DC visit):

Training and competing

Houston trip + pictures

 

Peshawar, Pakistan newspaper article scan

My cousins, Mansoor and Asad, who live in Peshawar, Pakistan, told me that stories about me have appeared for the past 5 months. Mansoor scanned one of them for me. It is from an Urdu print newspaper called Mashriq (meaning – where the sun rises, or the east) published in Peshawar, Pakistan. It is translated and based on the original English article that I was interviewed for by the The Friday Times article

It is pretty awesome to see this, and I am happy to hear all of it is positive and very supportive.

I have the image scan of the article posted here:
http://www.liftingcovered.com/peshawar-pakistan-summer-2012/

Read More

Training Summary & Video October 2012

Posted by on Oct 10, 2012 in Blog, Training, Training Videos | Comments Off on Training Summary & Video October 2012

Summary of my training is at the bottom of this post. The video below contains video clips of some of the exercises I am doing in training now (Sept/Oct 2012). I started on a high volume strength cycle/program during Ramadan and have continued until now. It is also focused on weaknesses in my technique. I will (hopefully) take and add more videos to my Youtube Channel, and either in this blog post or in new ones. I am making dua that the future videos are going to be of me making PRs!

Some of the exercises shown in the video are:

  • Power & Muscle snatch from the hang
  • Deadlift, Snatch and Clean grip, from the middle blocks
  • Clean from the blocks
  • Shoulder Press
  • Deadlift Cleans (fast)
  • Lockouts

Disclaimer, do not use this as a guide, I do not do everything 100% correctly. You can look up other websites for videos on training exercises for learning purposes.

Read More

Pakistani American Youth Conference LA, CA, USA – Nov 10, 2012

Posted by on Oct 3, 2012 in Blog | Comments Off on Pakistani American Youth Conference LA, CA, USA – Nov 10, 2012

Pakistani American Youth Conference LA, CA, USA – Nov 10, 2012

Presented by the Consulate General of Pakistan in Partnership with Young MALAC (Young Muslim American Leadership Advisory Council). YMALAC builds partnerships between the Muslim community and law enforcement through communication and interaction, working closely with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Co-Sponsored by Pakistan Link.

Read More

Peshawar, Pakistan newspaper scan Summer 2012

Posted by on Sep 29, 2012 in Blog, Non USA Press Coverage | Comments Off on Peshawar, Pakistan newspaper scan Summer 2012

Peshawar, Pakistan newspaper scan Summer 2012
 My cousin in Peshawar, Pakistan scanned this for me.   September 2012It is translated and based on the original English article that I was interviewed for The Friday Times article.  Click on the image to enlarge.
Read More

State Department Eid ul Fitr reception Sept. 13, 2012, travel & the American Open 2012

Posted by on Sep 10, 2012 in Blog, News & Updates | Comments Off on State Department Eid ul Fitr reception Sept. 13, 2012, travel & the American Open 2012

Invitation to the State Department Eid ul Fitr reception Sept. 13, 2012

Article in The Friday Times (Pakistan newspaper)

MPA Event in Houston, Texas, Thursday, September 20, 2012

American Open Weightlifting Championships 2012

 

State Department Eid ul Fitr reception Sept. 13, 2012, Thursday evening:

I have been invited a second time to the Eid ul Fitr reception hosted by the The Secretary of State at the Department of State in Washington D.C.. Last year was the first time I was invited and I had the honor of being one of the speakers. After consulting with friends and family, I knew I had to go again this year. This time, I get to crash with my sister Shabana, who now lives in the area and works at BLH Technologies, Inc. We are planning to take Amani and Zalan (my niece and nephew) to the National Zoo. Hopefully other places if we have time, and for food, a place I have been told that is great and serves grass-fed zabihah/halal burgers:

Elevation Burgers

DROOL!

In my usual manner, I will take a lot of pictures and some video during the trip, then share them on the website and my Facebook page.

Read More

Worth the Weight (un-edited)

Posted by on Aug 31, 2012 in Blog | Comments Off on Worth the Weight (un-edited)

Worth the Weight (un-edited)

The unedited version of the Friday Times article by Sonya Rehman at her blog. Copy below.

Worth the Weight

By Sonya Rehman

Slim and petite, one would never guess (at first glance) that Pakistani-American, Kulsoom Abdullah, has been Weightlifting – at both the national and international level since 2010 – in addition to Crossfitting.

Read More

How Ramadan 2012 went & Eid Mubarak!

Posted by on Aug 19, 2012 in Blog, News & Updates | Comments Off on How Ramadan 2012 went & Eid Mubarak!

In Atlanta, Georgia (and other places) Eid ul Fitr is tomorrow, Sunday, August 19th, 2012. Today is the last day of Ramadan & fasting. For Eid tomorrow, we will attend the Eid salat (prayers) at the masjid and go out to eat 🙂

I wish everyone a blessed Eid Mubarak/Kareem! Please remember and pray for those who are suffering this Eid, here and in other parts of the world.

This month I was able to get some down time, not completely as it seems I always find something to do or feel the need to work on something as you can see by the contents of this blog post below:

My Academic Research

News, Press & Blogs

Saudi Women at the Olympics

My Interviews and mentions this Ramadan

My Facebook Page

Training & Coaching updates

Read More