At Dubai’s strongman contest, Athlete Demonstrates Remarkable Performance During Ramadan

Egyptian powerlifter Fatma Elgazzar showcased her extraordinary physical and mental strength as she participated in and excelled at the World Strongman Championship in Dubai while observing the fast during Ramadan.

The championship, held at the Emirates Sports Hotel, brought together heavyweight athletes from across the globe to push the boundaries of human potential. Elgazzar, aged 38, competed in the Women's Division under-75kg category against strongwomen and weightlifting champions from Russia, South Africa, and India. Similar to the Men's Division, female competitors underwent three stages of competition.

In the under-75kg category, the first stage required a 60kg Log lift (3 repetitions), followed by a 130kg Axel deadlift (3 reps), a 35kg Dumbbell lift (3 reps; single hand, straight body), and a 70kg Stone over 110cm bar (3 reps). There was a two-minute time constraint to complete Stage 1. Stage two involved an 80kg Sandbag carry for 15 meters, a 15-meter, 200kg Yoke race, and a 150kg Farmer's walk for another 15 meters. Everything had to be done within one minute, and Elgazzar completed Stage two in a swift 40 seconds.

The final stage required rowing a distance of 500 meters on a rowing machine.


As spectators cheered on their favorites, Elgazzar's performance stood out not only for her remarkable tenacity and determination but also for her ability to actively participate in an extreme strength sport while observing the fast from sunrise to sunset during Ramadan. Sporting a blue hijab, Elgazzar shattered stereotypes and demonstrated that Muslim athletes can excel in demanding sports. Throughout the competition, she did not show any signs of shortness of breath, even speaking with Khaleej Times during breaks. Elgazzar shared that she trained intensively for the competition and had been fasting since the beginning of Ramadan.

"Adjusting my training schedule was initially challenging during the first week as I had to shift my practice from morning to evening. However, once I established a routine, my body adapted, and I felt even stronger than before. Fasting also helped me maintain mental focus," shared Elgazzar, who had previously been crowned the 'Strongest Woman in Egypt' before competing in Dubai.

In addition to her personal achievements, Elgazzar had two objectives in participating in the World Strongman Championship. Firstly, she aimed to positively share her faith, which is why she observed the fast. Secondly, she sought to break cultural barriers and inspire more women to engage in a sport often associated with men. Elgazzar, a certified powerlifting trainer and fitness coach, recalled that when she initially started in the sport, her parents had reservations. However, through her determination and success, she won their support and encouragement.

Photo credit: Muhammad Sajjad