COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa: Kulsoom Abdullah didn't win, but she notched a victory for diversity at the US weightlifting championships on Friday as she competed in clothing that covered her legs, arms and head.
Abdullah was cleared to compete in clothing that met the standards for modesty of her Muslim faith after the International Weightlifting Federation ruled a fortnight ago that competitors could wear a full-body “unitard” under the customary weightlifting uniform.
IWF rules previously stated that a weightlifter's knees and elbows had to be visible so officials could confirm a lift was properly executed.
Abdullah, a 35-year-old from Atlanta, Georgia, competed before a small crowd of fellow lifters, their families and friends.
Wearing a black hijab and a black short-sleeved shirt with a tan, long-sleeved undershirt and long black socks, Abdullah cleared a snatch of 41 kilograms and a clean and jerk of 57 kilograms.
Abdullah finished fifth out of six in her 48 kilogram senior women's weight class.
“I'm really happy that I got this experience and that there's a lot of support, and I hope that it could encourage other women and people, whether it's weightlifting or another sport, to try competition because it's fun to meet people,” Abdullah said.
“I think it helps when people get along.”