Maryam Nasim, a Pakistani weightlifter, who despite having a back injury, defied all odds and won a bronze medal in the 63-kilogram category at the recently held Avia Powerlifting competition in Australia.
Avia Powerlifting competition, which is approved by International Powerlifting Association and is held under the Australian Association, invites powerlifters of diverse nationalities residing across Australia.
Last year, Maryam won a silver medal in the same competition.
Maryam, who hails from Peshawar, is a true superwoman, who is a banker by day and a weightlifter by night.
Talking to Pakistan Today, the athlete, who is currently residing in Australia, shared her training regime, love for weightlifting, the reason she started this sport and how she manages her training and bank job simultaneously.
When and why did you start powerlifting?
I started powerlifting last year in 2017. I have always promoted a fit and healthy lifestyle and wanted to encourage others to live a healthy lifestyle too.
I got into powerlifting because my friends and people in my social network started encouraging me to compete. I looked into it since I always wanted to represent a strong Pakistani Muslim woman. I wanted to show people in the Australian society that Pakistani Muslim women are not just confined to their kitchen only. There’s so much more to our existence and we are also independent.
I have always loved lifting. For me, it’s always been a form where I could shut the entire world and zone into something I loved. Powerlifting and exercise, in general, has helped me deal with many issues in my personal life.
From where did you get the inspiration?
When I look back I have never been a girly girl. Even as a child I wanted to compete with boys, I was into sports, I never played with dolls. I think I always wanted to be a strong person not just mentally but also physically. I remember when I was younger, as my mum would take an afternoon nap, I would challenge my cousins to see who would jump from the highest building. I always wanted to be physically stronger.
Where did you use to train in Pakistan?
When I was in Pakistan, I used to go to Garrison Park regularly for walks or for swimming regularly. My weightlifting journey started in Australia.
How do you manage your banking and powerlifting in Australia?
It is hard. At times it gets very hard to manage both fulltime and I do get annoyed at myself for having to put myself in this situation.
My training session goes on for 3-4 hours and it’s hard to maintain at times, I question things at times but I guess the passion for this sport helps me keep pushing.
Especially the preparation for my third competition was extremely difficult. I had many health issues and an injury that made the entire process very tiring and exhausting. I can’t thank Allah enough for helping me throughout this process, though.
What is your training regime?
I train 5 days a week and my sessions are 3-4 hour long.
How do you see future of powerlifting in Pakistan, especially for girls?
I think the trend has started in Pakistan and I can not wait to see what the future holds. Inshallah, one day I am hoping to have my own athletes and would love to coach them and take them overseas to compete in different competitions.
What are your future plans?
My future plans keep on changing. But for now, I would love to compete as much as I can in local competitions so I get more exposure and I learn from others and represent Pakistan in the worlds one day, Inshallah.