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
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.
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
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 —Read More
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.
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
Salaam (peace)!Read More
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.
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
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
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.
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
*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):
*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)
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:
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:
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.
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:Read More
Sarah Attar an 800 meter runner and Wojdan Shaherkani in Judo, are making history by being the first women to ever represent Saudi Arabia at the Olympics. I was very disappointed when I read that 16-year-old female Judo fighter, Wojdan Shaherkani, who is entered in the +78kg women’s weight class might not be able to compete. The International Judo Federation president Marius Vizer said she could not wear the hijab (headscarf) during competition and is quoted as saying “The athlete from Saudi Arabia will fight in the spirit of judo and according to the principles of judo without a hijab.” They also state safety reasons.
Please read Amna Al Haddad’s write-up on her blog about this issue titled: Hijab and Sports.
There are many female athletes who participate in sports with hijab and businesses are growing that are creating hijabs suitable for athletes. Before I competed in weightlifting, I practiced Taekwondo with hijab. I know females who practice the grappling martial arts, such as Judo, in hijab as well. There is a way to accomodate clothing in which the athlete does not have a competitive advantage over others AND still be safe. Safety was one of the reasons FIFA cited for banning the headscarf, but has recently FIFA lifted the headscarf ban for football.
I REALLY hope Wojdan Shaherkani gets to the mat in London. It has taken so much effort for her to get to this point, to be able to represent Saudi Arabia! As Jacques Rogge, the president of the International Olympic Committee, stated during the opening ceremony: “For the first time in Olympic history, all the participating teams will have female athletes. This is a major boost for gender equality.”
I am surprised the Judo Federation had not considered her clothing restrictions beforehand, but there is still hope for them to reconsider their decision and work on agreeing to a head covering for her that will comply with the rules and safety issues. It would be a generous on their part, not only for helping Shaherkani make history, but the spirt of sports and Olympic competition — bringing people from all over the world to the same arena, field, stadium and mat.
2013 Update: I have a Ramadan 2013 blog post linked here
Last year I wrote a piece on Ramadan (fasting), training and diet. It is located here (and at the bottom of this post):
I decided to write another post based on what people have been asking me as an addendum but you can refer to the original post for more detail and scientific references.
This year Ramadan is about 2 weeks earlier and hotter than last year. It also falls during the Olympics and in the midst of turmoil, such as in Syria. President Obama sent Ramadan Greetings to American Muslims.
Eating the pre-fast/pre-dawn/peshmanay/suhoor/sehri meal
What to eat after sunset (fast break/iftar), and dinner
When to workout
Crossfit related (Weightlifting & Metcons/Endurance)
Fasting in countries with long days (19 or more hours) or the sun does not set or rise:
What I am personally doing this year
My Ramadan post from last year 2011
You need to consider your own health, current fitness level, allergies, and consulting with your medical professional. What I have written is something you can use as a guide or help you make decisions on what you need or want to do for Ramadan. I encourage you to do your own research as well. Here are links to some diet theories to look into: paleo, primal, keto, Gary Taubes and Eades’ books.Read More
Considering the date, we can all conclude that I am definitely not going to the Olympics, representing Pakistan in weightlifting.
I had been training full time and waiting on the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) wildcard slot decisions. According to the documentation posted on the IWF website, there are a total of 4 female wildcard/invitational slots.Read More
I am mentioned & quoted in this article from a phone interview today. Paul Newberry also covered my story last year. Link to the article: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/wire?section=oly&id=8133556
Regarding the Olympics, as of this post, I still do not know if Pakistan is getting a wild card invitation from the International Weightlifting Federation and IOC for a female invitational slot for weightlifting. Thanks everyone for your support, I appreciate the encouragement. I am still continuing to train as anything can happen or is possible.
Column: Time for IOC to stand firm against Saudis
Updated: July 5, 2012, 6:35 PM ET
“The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit …”
Those are the International Olympics Committee’s own words, spelled out at the very beginning of its charter, right after the preamble, under a section known as “Fundamental Principles of Olympism.”
It’s time for the IOC to live up to them.
If Saudi Arabia won’t allow women to compete at the London Games, tell the guys who run the oil-rich kingdom they can keep the rest of their team — the men — at home, too.
No more negotiations. No more sorting out the details. This is a major issue, no less important than a stand taken by the IOC nearly a half-century ago when faced with the issue of apartheid in South Africa.Read More
I wanted to write some updates on how things are going.
Summer Olympics & Training
First: what I am asked the most about is if I will be participating in the Olympics. I currently do not know if I am competing this summer 2012 in London. I have been training the same way 6 days a week so that I can be prepared in case I get the opportunity to represent Pakistan, if Pakistan receives one of the 4 female invitational/wildcard slots from the International Weightlifting Federation and I am selected to be that female.
My Summer Training
I train in a garage gym with no air conditioning. Atlanta, Georgia USA gets pretty hot, and the weather is humid. I have to make sure I consistently drink fluids, additionally, it is important to keep body temperature down, so in between sets I sit in front of a fan and hold two ice packs. One I hold under my hijab (headscarf) around my neck, and the other under my scarf on the back of my neck. When I go up to do my lifts, I have to really make sure I get a lot of breathing and oxygen, otherwise, I get dizzy and I do not want to pass out, especially when attempting a maximum attempt. I will write more about fasting and Ramadan this year in my next blog post. If I do get to go to the Olympics, I will again sell Pakistan weightlifting t-shirts for fundraising purposes.
(CLICK READ MORE, to see the rest of this post)
This post is about the rest of competition and my stay. Below I have an index if you want to go to a particular section in this post. Again, I have inserted some pictures in this post, but the entire album links are also included.Read More
The experiences and stories from the day before I competed and the day I competed will be shared in this post (the entire trip is split into multiple posts). I will insert some pictures from my album and a video compilation of my competition and lifting in this post. I met so many people and there are so many stories, but my blog posts are already so long I can only share a fraction.
Here is a link to the full album day 4 (on my website, but also includes the link to the album on my Picasa page):
For easier reading, I will include index titles and sections, and you can click these anchors to go to the specific place in the post.
Day 4 – Tuesday – April 24, 2012 – my competition day
First in the news:
USOC lifted the bar for Muslim woman by Philip Hersh at the Chicago Tribune:
http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/globetrotting/chi-usoc-lifted-the-bar-for-muslim-woman-20120412,0,5770306.column He also wrote 2 other articles last year. here and here
The IWF also has a copy here: http://www.iwf.net/2012/04/16/usoc-lifted-the-bar-for-muslim-woman/
Asian WL Championships Preparations
My schedule has been pretty hectic till I got to sit on the plane (and finally started typing towards this blog post). I generally train 6 days a week. When my shoulder got better, I started adding 2 days of 2 workout sessions for a total of 8 visits to the gym. I have been really focusing on snatch and the split jerk (my weaknesses) trying to be more consistent in technique. Doing a lot of volume work helps to maintain consistency which will lead to being able to get higher weights, as the higher you go and the closer the weight is to body weight, the more precise and fast you need to be in these lifts.
Day by day, I managed my time and had on going to do lists to prepare for Korea and I think this time (and hope) it will be more calm and an easier experience.Read More
Thanks for your support and purchasing an apparel item(s). I am getting sponsorship for the trip to the Asian Weightlifting Championships in Korea. They are going to help me with the remainder of the costs left after donations and t-shirt/jacket proceeds are collected. The organization is:
Social Vision is the self-funded, strategic philanthropy arm of ML Resources, LLC. The division invests in innovative capacity-building and community development initiatives with expected high social returns. Social Vision also seeks to increase understanding between the West and the Islamic World by fostering dialogue and partnerships that transcend faith, cultural and ethnic lines. The division’s entrepreneurial approach to philanthropy embodies both the spirits of sharing and tolerance, supporting meaningful causes at the grassroots level.
Muslim Lakhani is Chairman and CEO of ML Resources and ML Private Investments, LLC. He is an entrepreneur and philanthropist of Pakistani origin. For over 25 years, he has developed natural resource projects as well as undertook other business ventures in the Middle East and South Asia. Mr. Lakhani resides with his family in Washington DC.Read More
(Update – long sleeve choices, sleeve printing info & extended deadline) The details on the Pakistan Weightlifting t-shirts are finalized. The following is information on the t-shirt choices, sizing detail, price, payment information and deadline. Proceeds go towards the travel expenses for me and Travis to go to the Asian Weightlifting Championships that are being held in Korea where I represent Pakistan. Thanks to Sarah Watson for help with the design again. Also thanks both to the Pakistan Weightlifting Federation and my friend from undergrad at University of Central Florida, Humayoun Khan, for help with logistics and moral support.
April 4, 2012 – THANK YOU to those who are also helping out by donating. I am updating the Sponsor page in real time (yes, I am a computer type person, so I use the lingo). I also really appreciate the moral support.
(CLICK READ MORE to see the entire post)
If anyone out there can help me translate my website content into different languages, please let me know. Google translate is improving, but the result is not always accurate or easy to read. I am using this free wordpress plugin: http://www.qianqin.de/qtranslate/
Georgia open competition & USA Nationals
I recently competed at the 2012 War Eagle Open held February 11, 2012 at Chestatee High School, Gainesville, Georgia, USA. This competition was after my shoulder healed, so I think I did OK considering that, but of course I wanted to do better. I did not go to USA Nationals which was March 2, 2012 in Columbus. Ohio, USA (held during the Arnold Sports Festival). I needed a qualifying total of 100kg. Currently, I have a 98kg total for valid lifts (no press outs). Because of my shoulder recovery, I decided not to try to compete before the deadline to make a qualifying 100kg total. Finally, for financial reasons, as traveling to Ohio would require a flight, plus all of the travel and accommodation costs, I thought it was not in my best interest to compete. I hope I can next year. Currently, I am planning and training for the Asian Championships.
I still need help to cover the financial cost of traveling and competing at the games. Please contact me for more detailed information.
Dr. Susan Kaiser, a Professor in Women and Gender Studies at the University of California in Davis has donated $100. She is writing a book: Fashion and Cultural Studies, to be published by Berg in London in late 2012 or early 2013. It will contain a picture of me competing and will include my story, as she explains “as a brief case study of the interplay between identity/agency and cultural regulation — and how individual agency and identity issues can successfully challenge cultural regulation of style-fashion-dress.”
My good friend from high school, Mary Lewis (http://www.maryjanelewis.com/) has donated $25. She owns a business; Just Bead It! which specializes in handcrafted beaded jewelry and hair accessories. I also received a gift of $27 from a brother who wishes to remain anonymous.
Pakistan Weightlifting T-shirts I need to make a few for my next competition. I decided I will open this up to orders and hopefully be able to raise some funds. (I might include hoodies with a zipper as another option for purchase.) This will not be large scale due to my very busy schedule and limitations. I will need payment for the shirts in advance and I will not be ordering any extra for later purchases. Additionally, I will only use USPS Priority mail shipping which will cost about $7 (several shirts can fit into the flat rate piece). The other option will be to pick up at Crossfit Atlanta. I am in process of finding out the cost from vendors but wanted to post this now as I will only have a 1 week or less time window in which I will advertise and collect payment for shirts before submitting the order. Most likely I will be using these graphics:
CLICK READ MORE to see the rest of this post.
The video is linked here at the Crossfit Journal: http://journal.crossfit.com/2012/02/kulsoomabdullahculturedivide.tpl
I uploaded it to my Youtube Channel:
In spite of the negative remarks, there have been a lot of positive comments. I really appreciate the support. This video and topic is a good culmination of everything. I always hope that misunderstandings, stereotypes, ignorance, generalizations can be reduced. We are a pluralist society. We may look different but we have the same goals of unity, freedom, and social harmony (contrary to historical myths, misunderstandings about Islam and those who claim to follow).
Official website for the Asian Senior Championships is up at http://pt-weightlifting.com/ (tip, on the upper right corner of the page, you can click on “English”)
As I have mentioned, I could use help, financially and logistically, to compete. Every little bit helps, so don’t think you have to contribute a large amount. Thank you.Read More