Kulsoom Abdullah honors Muslim faith, makes history at US weightlifting nationals

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa — Kulsoom Abdullah has become the first woman to compete in the U.S. weightlifting championships while wearing clothing that covers her legs, arms and head.

Abdullah was cleared to compete in accordance with her Muslim faith after the International Weightlifting Federation ruled two weeks ago that athletes could wear a full-body “unitard” under the customary weightlifting uniform.

Abdullah finished fifth out of six competitors in her weight class.

A matter of faith: Muslim woman wants to compete in weightlifting, but stay true to religion

ATLANTA — Looking to get stronger, Kulsoom Abdullah took up weightlifting a couple of years ago. She quickly grew to love the male-dominated sport, entering local competitions and even allowing herself to dream of one day making it to the Olympics.

She’d like to see how far this passion might take her, but not if it means compromising her religious beliefs.
Seems perfectly reasonable.

Yet Abdullah, a 35-year-old Atlantan, has been barred from entering the U.S. senior nationals in Iowa next month. The problem: Her Muslim faith requires that she cover her arms, legs and head — which violates international rules governing weightlifting attire.