KARACHI: Pakistan women powerlifters continued to shine at the 2015 Asian Bench Press Championships as Sonia Azmat and Shazia Butt claimed gold in the 63kg and 84kg+ categories at the Sultan Qaboos Stadium in Muscat, Oman on Friday.
Sonia and Shazia followed up on Twinkle Sohail’s performance, who became the first woman to win an international gold medal for the country in the sport on Friday.
Sonia, who hails from Lahore, outclassed her closest competitors from India and Kazakhstan in the 63kg event, scoring 32.5 and 47 points in her event.
Lodhran-based Shazia, who used to be a kabaddi player for Pakistan, emerged as the best powerlifter in the open-weight event, outclassing athletes from Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan with a score of 62 and 140 points.
“Our women have been the most successful,” coach Rashed Mohammad Malik, who has been training the trio for two years, told The Express Tribune. “They’ve impressed everyone. The Indians, who have the biggest contingent, were shocked. These girls won these medals in a Middle Eastern country. It broke all kinds of misconceptions that people had about Pakistan.”
Event organiser Saud alKhanjari was impressed by Pakistan women’s performance and hoped that the individual sport receives recognition in Oman.
“We are trying to promote individual sports more, and powerlifting has been very well received,” Saud told The Express Tribune. “We are glad that we were able to feature Pakistani women here.”
Meanwhile in today’s fixtures, the Pakistan’s men’s team will compete in master’s category.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 4th, 2015.
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