Weightlifting is my passion!
Written by the Voice project staff at Femmes et Tic
To mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, November 25th, Femmes and tic a Voice innovate and learn grantee in Mali, highlighted the story of one of their inspiring rightsholder, a weightlifting champion.
Mrs Mariam Coulibaly, known as Batoma, aged 38, has succeeded, more than once, in raising the flag of Mali very high in the field of weightlifting for paralympic games
“Weightlifting is not just for men ”
This brave woman practices weightlifting, a sport mainly practised by men and consisting of lifting weights. It requires a lot of precautions because the risks of accidents, sometimes fatal, are numerous.
In addition to being a woman practising a male-dominated sport, Batoma is physically different. Most people would automatically think that she is disadvantaged. On the contrary, Batoma has managed to transform what people perceive as a weakness into amazing strength.
In 2009, during the paralympic games, she won three medals (gold, silver and bronze). In 2014 during the games in Mauritania, she won two medals (gold and silver). She also took part in the Tunisia games.
Despite all the difficulties that she undergoes such as not receiving the bonuses after winning competitions, Mrs Mariam Coulibaly is passionate about weightlifting and continues to train daily with her coach, Mr Bakary Diallo who is very proud of her achievements. Batoma´s training sessions consist of lifting weights of at least 50kg after warm-ups.
In addition to being successful in sport, Batoma is a married woman and is raising a son. Her husband, Mr Kassim Diarra, is himself also a sportsman in other paralympic games. A real asset according to her, as she has his unwavering support.
Batoma is proving how wrong and prejudiced people are when they think those female Paralympic athletes cannot have children. She is also happy that her husband feels that she is a wonderful wife!
When asked for what she wishes to change, she smiles and says that she would like improved, high-quality equipment to train for bigger and better.