Bekhal Abdullah was so overweighted that caused her many diseases and a lot of ridicule but she decided to take matters into her own hands, not only she lost weight, but she also managed to become a prominent athlete and an Iraqi champion.
“We were in our car, when a truck pulled up next to us and its driver said to my husband sarcastically, 'What's the matter? Did you board a vehicle?” in reference to Bekhal said that sarcastic comment by a firend of her husband at a traffic light caused her a lot of pain yet it was an incentive in her fight against obesity.
Bekhal was unable to control her morbid obesity, weighing 120 Kilograms KG, but that was six years ago, and now only 70 KG, she has turned that page and is all about staying fit and preparing for a weightlifting championship.
Marriage and obesity
Before getting married, Bekhal's weight was normal, and after she gave birth to her first child, her weight began to increase gradually, and after the birth of her second child, her weight reached 120 KG, while her height is medium.
Bekhal got married in 2010 and has two children.
Then she was still a second-year student in the industrial preparatory school in Erbil, and completed the third stage during the first year of her marriage, although she wanted to study in the computer department, but fate chose another path for her.
"The teachers told us that it does not matter what certificate we get, whether it is from the computer department or the electrical department, but they were not honest with us, we completed our studies and did not earn anything from the certificates we obtained," Bekhal, 32, bitterly told Kirkuk Now.
“I have been involved in organizational and NGO activities when I was 17 years old,” as her father’s involvement in politics had an impact on her, her five sisters and her three brothers.
Organizational work and social interaction encouraged Bekhal to attempt a change in her lifestyle.
Time to decide
In 2015, Bekhal gave birth to her second child, and with her extra weight of 120 kg, Bekhal was suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure, joint pain, back pain and several other health problems, so it was time for her to make the decision and start following the diet.
"The diet brought good results, I started losing weight gradually, but I had another problem of sagging which bothered me a lot," says Bekhal.
The sarcastic comment of her husband's friend and the diseases associated with obesity, prompted Bekhal to take faster steps to get rid of the problem of sagging skin, so she turned to exercise.
Bekhal's house was located in Sayed Sadiq district of Sulaymaniyah where there was no gym for women. One of the conditions for her marriage was her continuation in organizational work, so she became responsible for the Women's Union of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and there she opened a gym.
"This hall provided an incentive for other women to practice sports, a large number of women joined that hall, and it was decided to open a larger and more appropriate hall."
After opening that gym, Bekhal Abdullah’s weight dropped from 120 kilograms to 70 kilograms, and she turned from a fat woman to an experienced athlete which made her progress quickly and turn into a fitness trainer.
“Even the wife of the person who mocked my weight asked my husband repeatedly to take her with me to exercise sports, as well as the women of the neighborhood in which I live.”
With the extra weight off, Bekhal has given up all the ailments she was suffering from and says she is in good health now.
After a three-year hiatus, back as a champion
In 2017, Bekhal, besides gym exercises, participated in a number of sports tournaments, and that year she obtained two certificates in the field of bodybuilding and fitness for levels (B and C) from the Sulaymaniyah branch of the Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness and became a trainer.
For Bekhal, the field of training turned from a passion to a profession, but for special circumstances, Bekhal was away from sports and organizational work for three years. Then, with the support of her family and her sister teacher Nergiz who heads the Queen Fitness group, she returned to playing sports and also founded an organization, but this time in Erbil.
Bekhal worked hard in the sport of bodybuilding and weightlifting, and added another certificate to her treasury when she acquired certificates (A, B and C), and then became a trainer who supervised a bodybuilding and fitness hall for women in Erbil.
Bekhal received the support and encouragement from her sister to participate in the physical strength and weightlifting championships, and earned fourth rank in the Cross Fit game that was held in 2020 in Erbil.
She also participated with the (Queen Fitness) team, consisting of 10 players, in the Iraqi championship, and the team won first place in physical strength games.
Bekhal obtained a training certificate in (Aerobic - physical training, Zumba, which is a sport for slimming, and Cardio Step, which is another sport to lose weight), and she also obtained a certificate (Tibu) for weight loss.
Bekhal's great successes began in 2020, she won first place in the Kurdistan Region in her weight, and in 2021 she participated with the (Queen Fitness) team in physical strength and weightlifting competitions at the Iraqi level for weight (80 kg) and became the champion of Iraq.
Organizational work did not interfere with sports for Bekhal. She is present in the gym in the morning and in the evening working for Yalda NGO. “My goal in training and organizing these courses is to develop the capabilities of women, and to raise their awareness so that they do not suffer what I went through in my life.”
Nowadays, Bekhal aspires to take even greater steps as she exercises in preparation for participating in an international championship is scheduled to take place in early 2022, since she wants to achieve first place at the level of international championships as well, which is the goal she has set for herself and wants to achieve.
“Sports never crossed my mind, but overweight and the accompanying illnesses and ridicule of the driver of the vehicle caused me a lot of pain, and these things motivated me to go on.”
By Firman Sadiq in Erbil