Khadija and Shafaq Dar hoping to win gold for Pakistan in weightlifting

Shafaq and Khadija have their eyes set on next South Asian Games and are working hard to prepare

Faizan Lakhani
September 20, 2021
Shafaq and Khadija have their eyes set on next South Asian Games and are working hard to prepare

Karachi: The story of Indian wrestling sisters “Phogat Sisters” was applauded globally after Geeta and Babita won the Gold medal in Commonwealth Games. The story also inspired Aamir Khan to produce “Dangal” – a movie that made around $350 million.

While Poghat sisters emerged from Balali district of Haryana in India, at around 450km distance from Balali, in Gujranwala – two Pakistani sisters are working to fulfil their father’s drams.

Fifteen-year-old Khadija Dar and 16-year-old Shafaq Dar are daughters of former national weightlifter and coach Waheed Dar – who always wanted his next generation to do well in the sport that he loved – weightlifting.

“I don’t have a son so my daughters are taking forward my dream and I am full supportive of them. I am proud to see them training and very hopeful and confident of their success,” Dar told Geo.

Khadija and Shafaq were initially trained by their father but due to Waheed’s professional commitments, both the sisters joined Star Weightlifting Academy in Gujranwala – the same academy where Olympian Talha Talib gets training. The Dar sisters are also coached by Muhammad Islam Natiq – the coach and father of Talha.

The sport of weightlifting, despite some great achievements in past, remained in oblivion but recent performance of Talha Talib in Tokyo Olympics has given a hope to everyone, including Dar Sisters, that weightlifting will now by recognized in country.

For Dar sisters, presence of Talha at academy is morale boosting.

“I am training with Talha Talib in the academy and being a youngster, I’ve seen his hard work and techniques, he is always around to guide us as well, which boosts my confidence,” Shafaq told Geo.

“Talha is my ideal athlete, his hard work and dedication towards sport inspire us a lot,” she added.

“The way he was supported by government following the Tokyo Olympics, I am very confident that weightlifting will now be appreciated by the country at every stage,” echoed Khadija, Shafaq’s younger sister.

Both Shafaq and Khadija believes that they’ve inherited this sport from their father and they’re made to become successful in weightlifting.

“My father was a weightlifter and I grew up watching him play this sport and watching him lift heaviest weights encouraged me to pick this sport as well. I believe that it is my duty to take his legacy to next stage,” Shafaq said.

“My dad was my first coach, our initial training started at home and then we joined the club where sir Islam is our coach, he is also my first ideal in this sport,” Khadija said.

Both the girls have already started competing at national level representing different departments and have displayed their skills, however they’ve bigger goals to achieve, for themselves and for the country.

Shafaq and Khadija have their eyes set on next South Asian Games and are working hard to prepare themselves for the event.

“To be a top weightlifter, you need to work really hard and learn from your seniors. If you’re working hard then there’s nothing that can stop you,” said Khadija Dar.

“We are preparing ourselves for South Asian Games and I am confident that I can win Gold medal for Pakistan,” said her elder sister Shafaq.

Their coach Muhammad Islam Natiq, who has coached likes of Talha Talib is confident of that Dar sisters can do wonders for the country but added that they’ll need the continuous support from the authorities.

“They’ve showcased amazing commitment and dedication towards weightlifting, I am very much impressed and confident that these girls can win medals for Pakistan in future. I am very much hopeful that they’ll be on podium during next South Asian Games,” said Islam.