Kulsoom Abdullah — world’s first hijab-wearing weightlifter
Born and bred in the US, Abdullah’s parents (born in Pakistan; her father from Tangi and her mother from Charsadda) immigrated to America years ago, before her birth.
In 2005, her father passed away in Pakistan, leaving behind his wife and five children – of which Kulsoom Abdullah is the eldest.
She is a computer engineer by profession, with a PhD from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Kulsoom Abdullah has participated in the ‘US National Competition’ in 2011, while in the same year she represented Pakistan (at the international level) at the ‘2011 World Weightlifting Championships’.
For the latter, Abdullah was not only the first female to compete, but she was also the first female to compete in hijab.
And this year, Abdullah represented Pakistan in South Korea, at the ‘2012 Asian Weightlifting Championships’.
However, in 2010 after qualifying to compete at the American Open, the USA Weightlifting Committee barred Abdullah from contending in the competition due to her clothing – clothing modifications were simply not allowed.
Participants had to adhere to wearing a ‘singlet’ – particular clothing for athletes that looks like a swimsuit with shorts.