CAIRO: She has practiced a unique form of pushup since she was 12; Mariam Mahmoud, 16, has gone viral after RecordSetter, a U.S.-based company that sets “world records” by just submitting a video of one’s record, promoted a video of the Egyptian teen completing a record consecutive set of four-finger pushups.
Although Mariam plans to attempt a two-finger pushups record, her story goes beyond pushups. As young as she is, Mariam noticed “long ago” that she can lift heavy objects despite being “very thin.” She plans to be a world champion.
“I have wanted to lift weights since I was 10. I nagged about it, but my family told me ‘lifting is not for girls.’ In time, they realized I am really strong and could become something one day,” Mariam told The Cairo Post Wednesday.
Mariam lifts 60 KG
After only five months of lifting weights professionally with Army’s Vanguards sporting club, she won the first place in Egypt for girls under 20 years of age. She trained at home for eight months after persuading her father to buy her barbells.
Mariam, who weighs 48 kilos (105 lbs) and height is 165 centimeters (5’4”,) lifts 55 kilos Snatch, and 75 kilos Clean and Jerk. Her small frame places her in a lightweight category.
“I feel confident walking down streets because I know I can defend myself, although I have not attacked anyone and would hate to hurt anybody,” Mariam said, commenting on rampant sexual harassment in Cairo.
Mariam lifts 50 KG
Her confidence also comes from the fact that she used to practice karate and Judo. She stopped karate because her college, Zahret al-Madaien Experimental Language School, halted the training after a problem occurred between the administration and the coach. The school, however, will honor their student Thursday.
Mariam practiced judo at the Aviation Sporting Club, but “they did not pay attention” to her, and so she left the training.
Now, Mariam feels very loyal to her two coaches; Saad Ahmed and Hassan Sobhy. Since she joined them, they have told “you are a heroine, you have determination and stamina made of iron, you can do things men cannot,” according to Mariam.
Fortunately, Mariam’s government school has weight-lifting equipment.
“One time, a guy from school told me someone else inside me lifts for me. When I lifted 50 kilos Clean and Jerk and the same Snatch with two fingers in each hand, my friends kept screaming,” Mariam laughed.
In the 2012 Olympics, two Egyptian women ranked fifth in weightlifting and one ranked ninth, all in different weight categories.