Mustafa Faran Baig will be returning a happy man as he became the first Pakistani to win the Asian Classic Power-Lifting Championship in 15 years, as he grabbed overall silver but two gold medals for recording the most amounts of weights in squat and dead-lifts in Mongolia on Friday along with one bronze in bench press.
The teenager was competing in the 93kg sub-junior category which features U18 athletes in the event.
According to Baig’s coach Muhammad Rashed, the medals were a shock at the event as the last time any Pakistani won in the Asian Classic Power lifting event was Imran Khalid, that too in 2003 where he grabbed seven medals.
Baig was making his international debut with the event as well.
“This is a huge achievement,” Rashed told Sources. “Baig had been working very hard for this, and I specifically trained him for this event to win.
“He has been training as a power-lifter for a few years now, but this is a big feat. Khalid had won seven medals in 2003, but he was competing in the open category. For Baig, that opportunity will come next time. This time around we could only have him entered in the age group and that limits the number of events.”
Rashed also added that doing well against athletes from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Japan was tough.
“The three countries really dominate the field but baig was prepared to shock them. It is unfortunate that he couldn’t win the over-all gold medal, but his record in squat and deadlift is good, he will only improve in the future.”
Baig lifted a total of 537.5kgs to finish second to the winner who lifted 555kgs, however he got gold in squat with 190kgs and created an Asian record in dead-lift with 232.5kgs, whereas he also got a bronze for bench press with 115kgs.
Rashed added that technically classic event is much tougher than the Asian Championship which has the liberty to have other equipment on, while in classic events the athletes are dressed like weightlifters, with no other support.
“Asian Classic Championship is much harder, there is nothing to fall back on and the athlete is only wearing the belt, nothing else. This is more challenging while lifting compared to Asian Championship,” explained Rashed.
Baig will return to Pakistan on December 12.
On the other hand Pakistani women including Twinkle Sohail and Rabia Razak were to take part in Mongolia as well, but there were issues in the travel and they had to back off from participating.
The championship in Mongolia was featuring athletes from 27 countries.