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April 11, 2021

Legendary weightlifter Abdul Ghafoor turns 81


April 11, 2021

LAHORE: Legendary weightlifter Abdul Ghafoor, who spearheaded Pakistan’s largest weightlifting family,

celebrated his 81st birthday on Saturday. Ghafoor was born on April 10, 1940 in

Lahore. Weightlifting maestro Abdul Ghafoor has been enjoying wonderful health in his 80s.

He imparted valuable training to Lahore weightlifters for the preparation of recently-organised First Quaid-e-Azam Inter-Division Weightlifting Championship at Nishtar Park Sports Complex.

About his excellent health in this old age, Ghafoor said he led a simple and trouble-free life and that’s the reason he is enjoying better health than majority of his contemporaries.

It may be noted here that Abdul Ghafoor grabbed silver medal in 1970 Edinburg Commonwealth Games in 52kg weightlifting competition and that too without any coach. He represented Pakistan in international weightlifting competitions from 1962 to 1982.

The ‘Ghafoor family’, probably the biggest weightlifting family of the country, has been rendering praiseworthy contributions in the field of weightlifting since long. Over a dozen male and female athletes of this family have featured in national and international weightlifting competitions over the years.

Ghafoor, who also has performed as a coach and international referee, has seven sons but six of them - Ishtiaq Ghafoor, Abdullah Ghafoor, Fayyaz Ghafoor, Abdul Ghaffar, Ilyas Ghafoor and Ishfaq Ghafoor are associated with the game of weightlifting.

His son Ishtiaq Ghafoor was a national record holder and South Asian Games silver medallist while Abdullah is the Asian Junior silver medallist and the 2016 South Asian Games bronze medallist.

Fayyaz won silver in the 2016 National Championship. Ghaffar clinched silver medal in the 2004 Quetta National Games. Ilyas is the national silver medallist and an international player whereas Ishfaq also played weightlifting but now he has quit the game.

Ghafoor’s late brother M Manzoor also represented Pakistan in 1976 Montreal Olympics. Manzoor got third position in Group B in Montreal Olympics, the best ever performance from any Pakistani weightlifter in the Olympic history so far. His other brothers Abdul Shakoor and M Farooq were national gold medalists and international players.

Ghafoor’s daughter Saniha also exhibited her weightlifting talent at international level. Saniha secured four gold medals in the 57kg category for squats, bench press, dead lifts and aggregate weight at Singapore Oceania Pacific Powerlifting Championships held there in December 2017. She got fourth place in the 2016 South Asian Games held in India.

Saniha Ghafoor also set nine national records (individual and aggregate) in the 57kg category at the third National Women’s Weightlifting Championship in 2017 at the Railway Stadium in Lahore.

Saima Shehzad, Ghafoor’s niece and daughter of Olympian Manzoor, is also a weightlifter. Zara, daughter of Ghafoor’s sister, also won silver medal in the 3rd National Weightlifting Championship.

It is worth-mentioning that despite such a remarkable contribution to the sport of weightlifting, Abdul Ghafoor and his family have never been rewarded at any level and they are still living in a rented house in Lahore.