“Kulsoom Abdullah” – The Pride of Pashtuns, A weightlifting Sensation

In many societies, gender roles predominant in Muslim communities can partially seal women’s inclusion in sports activities. Conventional mindset defines a women’s role as wives and mothers, they frequently consider sport as a prevalently a male domain. Cultural and religious constraints in sports participation are by no means inimitable to Muslim societies. Likewise, patriarchy and male chauvinist perceive themselves as more athletically competent than females. This upshot an increase in their propensity to participate in athletics and other sports. In Pakistan, where women in sports are staggering and improper for most of the people. Empowering females might still not be there where it needs to be. Socially, it is arduous for many people to acknowledge and recognize women as sports protagonist. However, things have initiated bearing its fruits, the country women representation index is improving but with a sluggish pace.

In a plethora of sports corporation and championships, they do not grant any provisions and supplies needed by Muslim female athletes. For instance, since 2012, it was unacceptable for female athletes to wear a headscarf, generally known as the Hijab or veil during participating in the majority of Olympic events. Nevertheless, in the same year, it was the first time noticed that the Olympic Committee took Ramadan into consideration, and scheduled the events with fasting athletes early in the morning time so that they would be fully nourished and hydrated. Contemporary, Muslim female athletes have accomplished success in multiple kinds of sports, including Cricket, long-tennis, association-football, fencing, and basketball.  In 2016 Olympics, 14 Muslim female athletes won medals, participating in a wide range of sports.

One such woman who has challenged the stereotypes in Pakistan is Kulsoom Abdullah. She has astounded one of the most male-dominated industry in the globe “ Weightlifting”. Generally, weightlifting compels massive courage and superfluous corporeal training irrespective of gender. it is not as affluent as it looks. For men, weightlifting demands years of training and dedication and allegiance to worth his survival in this industry. Likewise, for women, it is even more, harsher to dominate the industry due to various constraints. Patriarchy says Women is comparatively feebler and scrawnier then men, Feminist oppose this.


 For women, it is not easy to participate in a male-dominated world, especially, when physical capabilities are concerned.

Kulsoom Abdullah was born in 1976, Kansas City, Florida. Originally, her family is a Pakistani-Americans, she is from Charsaddah, Pakistan. She is from a Pashtun tribe and speaks Pushto. Kulsoom has a PhD degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology. Kulsoom Abdullah was figured in the biopic “The Pakistan Four: Four strangers in America redefining the narrative of being a Pakistani Muslim woman” publicized in 2014. Kulsoom Abdullah is a Pakistani-American and one of the very few Muslim women in the weightlifting profession, she is also the 1st women to represent Pakistan at the World Championship. Criticism rises from people is when a woman sidelines the importance of wearing a veil in public. Nevertheless, the astounding point is that she was the first women to participate and compete in international weightlifting championship wearing hijab.

She is vying in Olympic weightlifting tournaments since 2010, after conceding her curiosities in taekwondo. “Taekwondo” is Korean martial art. So, the journey from Taekwondo to the weightlifting Muslim sensation begun. The voyage of the Global championship in Thailand was prolonged one for her. Her entry was repudiated into the National weightlifting championship in Thailand. But, a valiant girl from Pashtun wasn’t keen to take off her Hijab so, she confronted the rules of revealing, and succeeded in next year. John Duff the CEO of weightlifting in the USA, assisted to induce the IWF to consent Abdullah to participate despite their regulations to allow her to compete with her Arms, head, and legs concealed.


Oh!! Wait! She is not only a weightlifter. Kulsoom has a PhD Degree in Engineering (Applauded). It is astonishing seeing a girl with a PhD degree and weightlifting. Hence, the engineering might be considered a lucrative career, weightlifting was obscurely an eccentric option for Kulsoom’s community. While attaining her PhD in Electrical/Computer Engineering degree at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Kulsoom commenced harmonizing the sport with her studies. Kulsoom complements the positive feedback from people and exhibiting young Muslim girls that it’s conceivable for them to do inconceivable too.

Kulsoom Abdullah is a role model for all the girls who accuse religion of their suppression. Religion does not prevent anyone. Conversely, a manmade social and cultural constraints do.

Written by: Shah Fahad


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