JOHOR BARU: She has the looks of a filmstar but 16-year-old Kedah student Zaira Zakaria is seeking glamour of a different kind – through weightlifting.
Zaira, a Form Four student at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Tunku Anum Tunku Abdul Rahman in Alor Star is determined to make a name in women's weightlifting.
“Weightlifting is challenging and also demanding. I love challenges and have already made up my mind to hit it big with the dumb-bells in the gym,” said Zaira who has also set her mind on joining the police force.
But first she wants to put Malaysia in the forefront of women's weightlifting – a sport which has hardly caught up with the fairer sex in the country.
Zaira took her first step towards her ambition when she won a gold and two silvers in the women's 63kg category in the Johor Open, the first leg of the National Weightlifting Circuit, at the Plaza Kotaraya on Sunday.
Zaira won the gold in the snatch with a lift of 47.5kg and the silver in the clean and jerk and total with lifts of 65kg and 112.5kg respectively. Teammate Nurul Ismayanti won two golds – in the clean and jerk (67.5kg) and total (115kg).
“To me it does not matter what others say about my involvement in weightlifting. From a young age I had been interested in working out in the gym. But it was only in the last two years that I have been seriously involved in weightlifting.
“I want to represent my country in the SEA Games. Hopefully, it will be soon. Malaysia have the women athletes who can win medals in this sport although women from Indonesia and Thailand are also serious in weightlifting.”