Dina Abdel-Maksoud, 21, has spent the past 10 years challenging social norms, training hard to become Egypt's first female bodybuilder. Now she is calling on
The engineering student from Port Said was only 11 when she started her first bodybuilding exercise; now she has won the gold medal in the last two international competitions she participated in, including the gold at the Bodybuilding Championships in Ukraine in October.
She trains every day and has a strict diet to stay in shape.
“You have muscles like a boy’s,” was something she would hear a lot on the streets of Egypt
She has always dreamt of having a strong like the bodybuilders she saw while walking with her father to the gym, but she was always criticised and bullied for expressing that wish.
She became interested in weightlifting but could not find a coach for women, so she travelled to Ukraine, where she now studies at university.
“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 practicing the sport in Egypt; they tell her you look like a man,” Dina told Ahram Online.
Despite achieving success abroad, Dina hopes to return home.
“I wish to return to Egypt, and God willing I’ll try to return soon and I’ll try to help women achieve their dreams and practice bodybuilding without fear,” she said.