A Pakistani weightlifter, who trains at home, won a Gold at the 2020 Glasgow Open Classic Weightlifting Championships.

Twenty one year old Rabia Shahzad travelled by herself from her home in Karachi, Pakistan to compete in the championship.

Rabia’s achievements are even more remarkable in that she has had no formal training, no coach and no financial backing.

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Rabia told us, “It was tough for me to get into this. I did get some people who constantly told me that I am not doing right stuff. Girls in Pakistan, especially, are scared of lifting weights. 

“I have made a training facility available in my home’s dining room.

“I don’t have any coach and any right guidance from a professional. All I learn is from my failures and that is taking a lot of my time and slowing down my progress. My technique has flaws and I do get irritated when it doesn’t go right.”

Rabia won Gold in the Hampshire Weightlifting Championship and a Silver in the Welsh Open Weightlifting Championship In October 2019, in the UK. She also secured a Silver in Singapore and a Gold in Sydney, back in 2018.

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The straight A* (A Levels) student, who is a long distance runner turned weightlifter, currently studies in Pakistan’s top business school, Institute of Business Administration (IBA) Karachi. 

For her university she had won a Gold in 5000m race and a Silver in 10,000m race at Intervarsity Athletics Championship in Islamabad in 2016.

Rabia began weightlifting in 2017. “As a child I used to wrestle with my father and had one major encounter with four boys in 4th grade, who eventually ran away!

“My first weightlifting competition was in November 2018 in Sydney where I won a gold.”

Rabia plans her tournaments herself.

She added, “I have nothing planned as of now, as all competitions of mine are self financed so I plan championships."