A 24-year-old Ganderbal girl Arifa Bilal, the first female Powerlitfer of Kashmir has shined again by bagging two gold medals in 4th national Powerlifting Benchpress and Deadlift championship held at Assand, Haryana.
She has also broken the national record by lifting 130 kilograms in the deadlift in under 55 kg weight women category in championship.
Arifa lifted 130 kg weight in the deadlift and 47.5 kg in bench press in her final attempts (Raw) in the championship in which around 500 powerlifters from across India participated.
The three-day-long event organized by Raw Powerlifting Federation India, began on 7th January and concluded on 9th of this month.
Hailing from Kujjar village in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district Arifa is pursuing her B. A degree from Government Degree College Ganderbal and has received her intermediate education from Girls Higher Secondary Ganderbal.
With these wins, she also qualified for the international Powerlifting championship scheduled to be held in Dubai, U.A.E. in April 2022.
“Despite me being from a financially broke family, I continued to chase my dream from an early age as I did not let my dreams die,” Arifa told Rising Kashmir.
Arifa, fourth among her five siblings is a black belt in sqay martial arts and is also known as Iron Lady in her village.
She is also serving as a gym trainer at “Doctor Gym” at Behama Ganderbal and has won several gold medals in different state and national championships in different games including powerlifting ,sqay, volleyball, and cricket.
“I was interested in sports since my childhood and started to learn Sqay martial art professionally in 2012 in which coach Saleem Pathan played an important role in training me. Besides this, bagging gold medals in various state and national events boosted my confidence,” she says.
Arifa has been an inspiration for many girls and says that she is the only female who runs a gym center in Ganderbal and has received an outstanding response from the people.
“I am training numerous females who want to be physically fit,” she says.
Arifa believes that being a girl has gone through lots of criticism earlier, at times even taunted for choosing Powerlifting as a sport as in a society like Kashmir it is considered fit only for males.
“But by bagging two gold medals in nationals I proved my critics wrong and made people of Kashmir proud,” she says.
Arifa says that she is aiming for a gold medal in international powerlifting championship to be played in Dubai. And is going through training from Coach Akhtar Wani for which she is working hard.
“There is a lot of potential in the youths of Kashmir but parents must support and allow their children to chase their dreams, especially girls,” she added.