Being a woman in a male-dominated field is no easy feat, particularly where physical capabilities are concerned. And Kulsoom Abdullah is bossing one of the biggest male-dominated industries – weightlifting. The Pakistani-American is one of the very few Muslim women in the profession and is the first to represent Pakistan at the World Championship. She is also the only Muslim woman to compete in an international weightlifting event while wearing a hijab.
Kulsoom has been competing in Olympic weightlifting competitions since 2010, after taking an interest in taekwondo.
Just in case that wasn’t enough, Kulsoom also has a PhD in engineering (putting us all to shame). Oh and she has PhD.
The journey to the World Championship, which takes place in Thailand this September, has been a long one for Kulsoom. She was denied entry into the national weightlifting championship in 2010 because she wore a headscarf. But she wasn’t willing to lie down and take this, so challenged the rules and was able to enter the following year. ‘It was very disappointing and affected my training even though I was used to some discrimination,’ she explains to Metro.co.uk.