‘Strongest woman ever’: Hijab-wearing bodybuilder defying stereotypes in India
A hijab-wearing female bodybuilder has been breaking stereotypes in India by winning medals in heavy-lifting championships. Her coach called her the “strongest woman I’ve ever seen.”
Currently a dentistry student, Majiziya Bhanu, from Kozhikode, Kerala, said she wants to show the world that wearing a hijab doesn’t have to be an obstacle to pursuing one’s dreams.
Defying stereotypes attached to Muslim women bearing the traditional headscarf, footage from Ruptly video agency shows Bhanu lifting heavy weights and arm wrestling in a gym as she trains for upcoming competitions.
Describing how what she does makes her feel special, Bhanu said: “I am really so comfortable in this hijab because my identity is my hijab and I do not want to change this identity for any reason.” She said she wants to be an example of how “everything is possible with this hijab.”
Bhanu has already won silver medals in two international events, Asian Powerlifting - held in Indonesia, and a lifting competition in Aluva, Kerala.
Her coach, Saleesh, has high expectations for her and said he thinks the “very dedicated” Bhanu will win a medal for India. She is currently training for the World Armwrestling Championship in Turkey in October.
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