• Sakina Khatun.
    Sakina Khatun.  
I have never really felt that women are physically weaker than men. I believe that any confident woman can do better than a man.

A twenty-five-year-old man, working with a crowdfunding platform ‘Milaap’ in Bangalore, has pledged his birthday to India’s powerlifter Sakina Khatun.

On his 25th birthday celebrated on September 21, 2015, Alister D Monte started raising funds to help Sakina represent India at the Paralympics 2016 in Rio.

With the help of the crowdfunding platform Milaap, Alister has so far managed to raise Rs 18,000 for Sakina. “I was searching for organisations doing good work and came across GoSports Foundation. It is a non profit trust that offers financial support and ​access to ​top sport science expertise to talented Indian athletes. I reached out to them and they told me about Sakina Khatun. I was inspired by her resilient spirit and decided to pledge my birthday for her. I really hope she wins the gold at the Paralympics in Rio,” says Alister.

Alister has never met Sakina personally but has heard and watched inspiring videos of her. “I doubt if she even knows that I have pledged my birthday to support her. She may be overjoyed to know about it,” Alister states.

In an exclusive interview, when iamin spoke to Sakina about her preparations for the most-awaited game, she couldn’t hide her excitement. “I have worked hard for years to reach here. I can’t wait to participate in the games and make my coach Farman Basha and parents proud of me,” says the 26-year-old athlete.

Sakina Khatun is one of India’s premier women powerlifters and has achieved accolades at the international stage in the last few years.

Afflicted with polio at a tender age, Sakina took up swimming on the suggestion of doctors. “My mother was quite hesitant with my decision. She was extremely worried for me as I had polio. My father, on the other hand, was very supportive and ensured to encourage me at every stage of my life. If I win the game, next year, all the struggles and sacrifices made by my parents would totally pay off,” says a hopeful Sakina.

In a couple of years, Sakina developed interest in powerlifting and ever since there has been no looking back for her. “In 2010, I started competing in this sport, professionally. Back then, it was very difficult for a girl to get into a profession like powerlifting. There were stumbling blocks, but I along with my coach Farman Basha, who is a paralympian and Arjuna awardee himself, managed to overpower the hurdles. I couldn’t thank him enough for my success so far,” Sakina says.

Originally from a small-town Basirhat in West Bengal, Sakina has been training in Bangalore for the last five years now. Her rigorous training sessions are unending but she never complains. “I have never really felt that women are physically weaker than men. I believe that any woman can manage to survive rigorous training and infact do much better than a man can. There are several budding sportswomen but they lack self-confidence. My message to them is to not think any lesser than men and to never stop dreaming big,” says Sakina, who is raised by her parents with her two sisters and a brother.

Sakina’s achievements include Bronze medal, 2015 Fazza IPC Powerlifting World Cup, Dubai, Silver medal, IPC Powerlifting Asia Open Championship 2015, Kazakhstan and Bronze medal, Commonwealth Games 2014, Glasgow. She aspires to lift over 95kg at the 2016 Paralympics and aims to claim the gold medal in that competition.

If you wish to help Sakina and contribute to the campaign, click here.