PHOTOGRAPHY BY AMY MAIDMENT
WORDS BY VICTORIA McINTYRE
Karenjeet is the first Sikh woman to represent GB in powerlifting. She is a champion, a chartered accountant and a woman on a mission to empower others to live their life to their full potential.
She talks to us about powerlifting, her faith, and being a role model.
You’re a GB powerlifter, currently the Commonwealth champion for your category. Explain to us a little bit about your sport.
Powerlifting consists of three disciplines. You’ve got the squat, then you have bench press and finally you have the deadlift. That’s where you get the most hype and adrenaline! You get three attempts of each at each lift, so nine attempts in total and you want to lift the heaviest weight you can manage. There are referees and rules as each discipline has certain requirements. The weight on the bar never goes down. The first lift is your opening weight, it’s got to be something you can do comfortably. The aim of the game is just to get a number on the board because first of all, nerves are going and you just want to get something right. Then the second lift might be your existing personal best, and the third one would be a new personal best. You slowly inch your way up, but often it’s a numbers game because you’re seeing what your rivals are doing, where you’re placing, it can come down to minute details.
Everyone in your family has had sporting success; your brothers with hurdles, your dad as a bodybuilder and powerlifter, and your mum went into athletics as a masters athlete. What is it that’s special about your family?
There probably is a genetic element. On my dad’s side, he’s a bodybuilder and strongman. My mum descends from a family of champion wrestlers. She was always naturally strong, but she never got the chance when she was a little girl to pursue any kind of dreams. Unfortunately, in the South Asian community, girls sometimes don’t get the chances that I have. I think what’s special about the family has been driven from my parents being so open minded. I know I’m very blessed and I wish that all kids had the same support system that I had. I think the greatest gift that you can give your child is your time as a parent.
Read Karenjeet's full interview in Issue 01 of Club71