Indian powerlifters Majiziya Bhanu, Aaniya Ahmed and Mohammed Azmat have won gold medals at the recently held World Powerlifting Congress’s World Cup in Moscow, where they competed against 600 athletes from 20 countries. The tournament was held from 14-16 December 2018.
24-year-old Majiziya, who hails from Kerala, and has been sweeping headlines for being a hijab-clad powerlifter, won gold in the open category powerlifting, where she was adjudged the best lifter.
23-year-old Delhiite Aaniya Ahmed won gold in the junior category. And 42-year-old Bangalore-based Mohammed Azmat won the medal in 100-kilo weight class in the 40-to-45-year-old master’s division. Azmat hoisted 237.5 kgs in the squat competition, 155 kgs in the bench press and 200 kgs in the deadlift to win his weight class and age group.
The other Indian athletes, who won at the tournament are Daljit Singh, Varad Patil, Raghu Hondadakeri, Sandeep Kothari, and Bhavana Shah. India also won the best team award at the tournament.
The World Powerlifting Congress (WPC) consists of 46 countries worldwide that participate in an annual World Championships. The Indian affiliate for the WPC is the WPC India, which is headed by powerlifter Daljit Singh. Azmat, who has been representing India for the past 4 years at different championships, and who works full time as a program manager at global IT giant DXC Technology, is the chapter’s South India Head.
“WPC India has sent 20 athletes to different championships worldwide this year, including to the World Cup held in Moscow and to the one held in the USA in November. As a team, we are very proud of what we have achieved so far. Although on the stage, every athlete is an individual, however, this sport is all about team spirit. And we couldn’t have achieved all this without the support of my teammatesRaghu Hondadakeri, Daljit Singh, Varad Patil, Sandeep Kothari and others,” Azmat told The Cognate.
Azmat, who has also trained both Majiziya and Aaniya said that he is planning to launch a sports federation with like-minded individuals, where women from the Muslim community would be trained and encouraged to participate in powerlifting competitions while complying with the religious dress code. “There is a misconception in our community that women should not participate in sports, as that would violate their modesty. However, women like Majiziya are a living example that Muslim women can observe their religious practice, and at the same time compete in sports”.