By George Aluo
While world soccer governing body, FIFA continues to battle Iran to allow women get involved in the round leather game, an Iranian lady, Poupak Basami has made history in Thailand at the on going International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) World Championships as she became the first Iranian lady to compete at the World Championships.
The 27-year-old, part of a four-strong women’s team for Iran, finished sixth in the women’s 55 kilograms D session after managing a total of 158kg.
That was made up of 72kg in the snatch and 86kg in the clean and jerk.
She was successful with five of her six attempts, only failing with her last clean and jerk effort at 91kg.
It comes five months after Basami became the first Iranian woman to participate at the Asian Weightlifting Championships, where she finished 12th.
Her hijab attracted plenty of attention and she admitted she found it somewhat off-putting.
“I completely realised how much they were focused on me, and this increased my stress,” she told Shahrvand Dailyat the time.
“When I was getting ready for the competition, all the cameras were zooming in on me and waiting for me to compete as a weightlifter with hijab.”
Joining Basami on the Iranian women’s team is Seyedehelham Hosseini, Abrisham Arjomandkhah and Parisa Jahanfekrian.
Hosseini and Arjomandkhah will contest the 71kg A and B sessions, respectively, while Jahanfekrian will compete in the 87kg C session.
Iran Weightlifting Federation (IRIWF) President Ali Moradi says the team should take inspiration from Egypt’s Sara Ahmed, who became the first female weightlifter from an Arab nation to stand on an Olympic podium after winning the 69kg bronze medal at Rio 2016.
While Iran has been a powerhouse in men’s competition for several years, it was not until 2017 that the IRIWF allowed women to compete officially.
The National Olympic Committee of the Islamic Republic of Iran (NOCIRI) supported the IRIWF and after decades of state opposition to women competing, there was a breakthrough at the Fajr Cup in Ahvaz in March last year.