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.
Help send 6 Pakistani ladies to represent Pakistan at the 2016 Asian Weightlifting Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan and qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
Feb 22 Update – I am sorry and sad to say that it is confirmed that no team of Pakistani women will be registered for the Asian Weightlifting Championships. Thanks to everyone for the support. I will be refunding everyone’s donations this week. 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 etc.). Thanks
Feb 17th Update – Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to donate to this fundraiser. There are 2 days left until the Asian Weightlifting competition deadline. I am asking the PWF if it is still possible to register with the amount raised so far. If so, I will continue the fundraiser and see if enough is raised for airfare, hotel, and registration for all of us ladies. Worst case we don’t have enough funds as a team to be able to go, I will refund everyone’s donation back. If there is anyone out there that is more talented at fundraising, please contact me, I could use your help!
Pakistani-American Competitive Olympic Weightlifter (Kulsoom Abdullah)
I attended the University of Central Florida and received my doctorate in electrical/computer engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. I have a black belt in Taekwondo (the activity that led me to getting strong) and was Crossfit Level I certified.
My website LiftingCovered.com and Facebook page continues to document my experiences weightlifting in an effort to compete at U.S. national weightlifting competitions. I advocated to compete in clothing that adheres to religious codes, opening the door for women from cultures around the world to compete and move beyond preconceived notions of gender, race, and religion. My athletic feats and determination culminated in an invitation to deliver remarks following Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the U.S. State Department’s Eid ul Fitr reception 2011. I represented Pakistan as the first female at the international level to compete wearing hijab at the 2011 World Weightlifting Championships and at the 2012 Asian Weightlifting Championships.
Help Empower Pakistani Women & Women All Over the World
As mentioned, I represented Pakistan as the first female in 2011 & 2012. Now in 2016, please help send myself and 5 other ladies as a team for the first time, and gain an Olympic position for a woman to be the first to represent Pakistan at the Rio Olympics in weightlifting. Training takes a lot of time, cost, and needs recovery (diet and sometimes medical treatment). It is a labor of love and we do not make any money.
March 2013, the 1st women’s Weightlifting championships were held in Pakistan. They now have more women in Pakistan competing weightlifting and powerlifting, and those that won medals as well. It’s great to see more women from Pakistan participating in strength sports and excelling. Here’s a VIDEO of the highlights of the 2nd national competition, link to the photo album and their Facebook page.
Send 6 Pakistani Women to the Asian Weightlifting Championships & a get a chance for the Olympics
These are the main and top priority costs we need help with:
- Competition Expenses:
- Airfare for 9 to travel to Tashkent, Uzbekistan (me + 1 from the USA, 7 from Pakistan)
- Hotel Accommodations (which includes 3 meals)
- Registration and Doping Fee
- Competition Clothing
- Transportation and Incidentals
- Current Training expenses and supplies
Any extra money raised will go towards other expenses not listed here, such as training equipment and medical care, last but not least, funding towards the Olympics if we gain a slot!
PHASE 1 $10,000
This amount is our first goal. It will help cover:
- Everyone’s registration fee (6 female competitors + 3 coaches) Deadline mid February!
- Good portion of the hotel accommodations for everyone
- Training and Uniform expenses
- Partial airfare
PHASE 2 total $20,000
After Phase 1, we would like to raise up to a total of $20,000. This will help cover:
- Airfare for everyone to get to Uzbekistan
- All of the lodging fees
- Competition clothing
- Transportation and Incidentals while in Uzbekistan
How You Can Help Us
Please share this campaign. It is a lot of money, but with public support and everyone giving whatever they can (even $1), it will be a great help. You will help send 6 ladies and coaches to go to the Asian Weightlifting Championships. That and the Olympics will also help get coverage on this issue, and continue to help break down barriers and increase the number of role models.
My Major Weightlifting Competitions
- 2011 USA Weightlifting National Championships, photos/blog, video
- 2011 World Weightlifting Championships, photos/blog
- 2011 American Open, photos/blog
- 2012 Asian Weightlifting Championships, photos/blog, video
More about me and summary of my social contributions
I live in Atlanta, GA and continue the cycle of empowerment by helping others and supporting relevant causes. In 2014 she was one of four women in The Pakistan Four short documentary – redefining what it means to be a Pakistani Muslim female, one of the recipients of the Georgia Influential Muslim Award and spoke on a panel at the Religion Newswriters Association. In 2015, she was also presented in a 2015 calendar of female South Asian American role models, “Saris to Suits Empowered”, and she is on Team Shirzanan (Persian for “female heroes”) as a spokesperson and role model. The team participated at RAGBRAI 2015 (The Register’s Annual Bike Ride Across Iowa) to celebrate our Right to Ride.
- 07/09/2011 State Department Eid ul Fitr reception : I was an invited speaker to the state department reception, hosted by then Secretary of Hillary State Clinton. My speech starts at 15:40
- 27/12/2011 Crossfit Journal Interview: This was one of my favorites because it portrays the beginning of my story and journey.
Selected TV & Video Coverage
- 30/06/2011 – MSNBC video & print article “After a hard-fought battle in the name of her faith, Muslim weightlifter Kulsoom Abdullah is now able to compete without violating her religious beliefs. Abdullah discusses her victory with MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts” Youtube link.
- 18/07/2012 CNN Video – “Olympic fashion changes are now paving the way for athletes to compete who could not based on their beliefs.”
- 06/12/2014 Beyond the Dream: Saris to Suits Fox News by Kelly Wright
- 24/12/2015 Muslim ‘female heroes’ bicycle across Iowa to inspire women around the world by Sally Morrow Religion News Service
Selected Print articles:
- 06/09/2011 – Muslim woman wants to lift sport’s dress code-USOC backs her quest to compete in form of Islamic attire by Philip Hersh (Chicago Tribune)
- 06/10/2011 – The Daily Mail – No athlete should be forced to choose between faith and sport’: Muslim weightlifter fights rules that won’t let her compete in a hijab by Rachel Quigley
- 06/14/2011 – Muslim Women Athletes Banned From Tournaments Get Creative With Hijabs By CHRISTINA NG (ABC News)
- 06/30/2011 – Burden removed, Muslim woman will lift at U.S. Championships by Philip Hersh (Chicago Tribune)
- 07/14/2011 Abdullah breaking down barriers By CHARLES ODUM (Associated Press)
- 07/15/2011 The barbell is up, and the dresscode changed – By Kari Huus, NBC News
- 04/13/2012 USOC lifted the bar for Muslim woman: A year later, competing for Pakistan, she hopes for Olympic chance – by Philip Hersh (Chicago Tribune)
- 07/5/2012 Column: Time for IOC to stand firm against Saudis by Paul Newberry (Associated Press)
- 09/06/2012 Worth the Weight by By Sonya Rehman – The Friday Times (Pakistan)
- 04/26/2013 Muslim Women in Sport: Culture vs Religion by Fatima Fakier
- 08/27/2014 Muslimah weightlifter wins right to compete in modest clothing Aquila Style by Lina Lewis
- 11/03/2014 Brown Girl of the Month: Kulsoom Abdullah is the First Female Pakistani-American Hijabi Weight Lifter by Atiya Hasan
- 02/20/2015 These Inspiring South Asian Women Put A New Face On The Typical “Calendar Girl” by Jina Moore of BuzzFeed
- 03/20/2015 Empowering women: A new spin on calendar girls CNN by Moni Basu
- 07/24/2015 Weights of a Pioneer – Chime For Change
- 22/10/2015 Meet the Athletes Shattering Stereotypes About Muslim Women in Sports MIC.com by Zak Cheney-Rice (FYI: Lou Ferrigno – who played The Incredible Hulk – shared it on his facebook page!)
- 11/27/2015 Up Close and Personal With Kulsoom Abdullah – Pakistan’s Sunday Times Magazine
- 12/07/2015 Donald Trump Couldn’t Name Any Muslim Athletes, Here are 38 – Fusion (I am #32)