Recently, many publications (including ours) and TV channels kinda screwed up big time when the news regarding two powerlifters winning gold was circulated.
There were some discrepancies regarding the names, based on the tweets that were shared. Moreover, the pictures of the powerlifters used were wrong, too. Pictures of another Pakistani athlete were used accidentally altogether. Soon, people started pointing this out.
Basically, hua yeh tha, that a lot of publications ended up using pictures of Maryam Nasim to applaud Pakistani athletes who won awards at a tournament recently
While we personally apologized to Maryam about this entire fiasco, we couldn’t help but wonder how she felt about it. So we did some digging and got a few answers.
Before we get into how she felt about the entire ordeal, let’s just give you guys some background information about who Maryam is
Maryam Nasim is a Melbourne-based weightlifter who was born in Peshawar, Pakistan. She left for Melbourne as a teenager to pursue her studies. She began weightlifting as a means to lose weight. However, she soon fell in love with it and desired to pursue it professionally. The numerous accolades to her name are a testament to how great she is at what she loves.
“I’ve been in the industry for almost 7 years now. Still new to powerlifting, though. As a teenage girl, I had a lot of insecurities because of being overweight.”
“After moving to Australia for my undergraduate degree, I made friends on campus who inspired me. Because I was away from my family, exercise was my of dealing with the issues of moving overseas, of handling the cultural shock I was experiencing, and getting used to learning new things, new values and starting a completely new life. You’d be surprised what exercise can do for you – not just physically but also mentally”, shared Maryam.
We asked Maryam how she felt about her picture being in the news. She had the following to say:
“Well, honestly, I wasn’t too happy about it. Firstly, because I felt bad for the person who deserved to be in the photo, and secondly because my photos were used for something not related to me. I got to know about it when people started tagging me in the posts on social media, and I immediately asked my team to get in contact with the right people to get that fixed. In saying that, I’m sure it is an honest mistake and the person who made it wouldn’t have made it purposely.”
Despite her picture being used incorrectly, Maryam gushed forth with praises for the two athletes who did bag the gold medals
“I was pretty stoked and felt proud. I personally feel that the entire team has done a tremendous job. Being an athlete of the same sport myself, I feel proud that not just our men, but our women are competing and making a name for Pakistan in the world. It’s high time our women get recognised for their talents. Good job girls!”
When asked about how fitness ties into empowerment for women, Maryam had the following to say:
“Traditionally, our women are expected to only opt for a few select professions. The simple fact that I, or any girl, can follow her passion regardless of the profession that’s expected of her to follow is empowerment on its own. The fact that women can compete in a male-dominated sport signifies empowerment for me. It gives me a lot of confidence that I’m able to lift heavy weights and can do anything I put my heart to.”
“The freedom to choose your passion as a profession is empowering our women. I was a pre-medical student and was meant to be a doctor, only to make my mother happy. I didn’t because it wasn’t my dream. Doing something you’re passionate about is very important to me”, says Maryam.
Maryam also had some encouraging words that she wanted to share with all those girls who wished to shatter stereotypes:
“I feel it’s very important to find your purpose and direction in life. Allow yourself to make mistakes. Don’t try to be too hard on yourself, and take time to figure out your path. Be unique, but at the same time, be genuine and true to your passion. I feel if you don’t have passion in life, there’s no purpose to life. Most importantly, encourage people and try to see the good in others. We need to create an environment that is all about encouraging each other and not about letting others down just because we don’t agree with them or their values.”
In a country where women are confined to their homes or have their paths dictated for them, women like Maryam are highly significant.
They shatter stereotypes, break glass ceilings and set a great example for all those who wish to do the same. Maryam, too, has faced immense backlash to be where she is. She’s been criticized heavily and has heard people say the absolute worst things about her. But she powers on, making the nation proud, with each step she takes.
Do you have anything to say about this? Share your thoughts in the comments.