With no disrespect, one can hardly imagine a woman bodybuilder from Egypt breaking the norms and making a name for herself. A certain Dina Abdel-Maksoud, however, has not only managed to stand out from all the detractors she has faced but has gone on to become a bodybuilding champion at the tender age of 21.
Dina Abdel-Maksoud, who believes the feminine beauty lies in the physical strength rather than the curves, had her sights set on becoming a professional bodybuilder since she was just a teenager. It was never going to be a silky smooth ride for Dina in a patriarchic country like Egypt. Despite knowing the bitter truth of life, her passion and commitment towards her goal took her the place where she is now.
Problems faced by Dina were certainly not limited to the criticism thrown by the society. She had to search a coach, which was not going to be an easy task in Egypt. So in order to pursue her dream, she decided to travel to Ukraine. “Our society is oriental and fears breaking customs and traditions. They see the girl who lifts weights as a mannish woman. I travelled because women are afraid of practising the sport in Egypt; they tell her you look like a man,” said Dina in an interview.
In the midst of reaching out to her goal, she made sure her parents’ dreams don’t go unnoticed. She wanted to pursue her career in Physical Education, but in order to keep her parents – who supported her through and through – happy, she took up Engineering.
“I traveled, played and became a professional in Ukraine. My parents supported me financially to work there. I wish I were in my country and represented my country. My family helped me to travel, but there are others who don’t have the money to do that.”
As of now, apart from ensuing engineering, she is also taking up certification in training and nutrition from the Ukrainian Federation of Bodybuilding. Also a member of the Ukrainian World Federation (first Egyptian woman to do so), Dina spends almost two hours in the gym every day and her hard work paid off in October this year when she won two golds in two events in Ukraine.
‘Believe in yourself’ is the motto Dina lives are life with. “If you train for bodybuilding you will achieve your dreams. If a woman trains hard, she can be stronger than the strongest of men. So, do not let anyone tell you what you can or cannot do,” she said.