A BRADFORD woman who has represented the UK on the world stage wants to continue breaking barriers and defying stereotypes through powerlifting.

Aliya Rashid appeared at the 2022 IPL Powerlifting World Cup in Germany and also qualified for the Mr Olympia competition in Las Vegas in December.

The 31-year-old, who grew up in Manningham and is of Pakistani heritage, has received plenty of praise – including from local MP Naz Shah, who congratulated her for representing Bradford at the highest level.

“Powerlifting gives me a real buzz, to get in that mindset and take control of that weight is amazing,” said Aliya, who also works as a tutor at Leeds City College.

“I’ve taken part in a lot of competitions and people are always congratulating me. It’s a nice feeling to be appreciated, and it gives me confidence, but I always stay humble with it.

“As a South Asian woman, you’re made to believe you’ll be looked down on for lifting weights, and there is a taboo – but more of us are getting involved and we’re breaking those stereotypes.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Aliya started training at 17 and got into powerlifting while on a work placement at a local gym.

She also got into bodybuilding before taking part in her first powerlifting competition in 2021.

“I dabbled in powerlifting just to see what I could lift, and everybody was quite impressed,” she said.

“It’s all about mindset. It’s just you, your mind, that weight – and nothing else – in that moment.

“When you lift that weight, it feels euphoric.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Aliya’s ability has taken her to some dizzy heights.

“I kept winning these competitions and then went to the World Cup –  it was like okay, now we’re taking it a step further!” she laughed.

“That’s when I started to take it more seriously – competing on the world stage was a completely different feeling.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Speaking with Aliya, you can hear both the confidence and pride in her voice, while her friendly manner and good sense of humour make her instantly likeable.

It is no surprise, therefore, that she now wants to help others.

“I like training the old school way – at male-dominated gyms, which can be quite nerve-wracking for some women,” she explained.

“But there are more women getting involved, and I love seeing them grow in confidence.

“I never see any negativity between people when I train, and it’s beautiful when we all support each other.

“Find out what you enjoy, and don’t let anything hold you back.”

Follow Aliya on Instagram - her handle is @aly_bb_rashid