Norwegian-Pakistani physician becomes Norway's powerlifting champion

Syed Sibtain Shah
27-year-old Norwegian-Pakistani Dr Zubair Akram.

To make passion out of a pastime becomes an achievement on its own, especially when one is working in a field as demanding as medicine.

But the 27-year-old Norwegian-Pakistani, Dr Zubair Akram, is acing in fulfilling his dreams.

He is a medical practitioner who is part of a Norwegian team for tent pegging and has also recently become national weightlifting champion of the country of his residence.

Akram has recently bagged a gold medal in national powerlifting championship in Norway, becoming the first Norwegian-Pakistani to win the award in the 83-kilogramme category. He won out of 160 participants in the competition, where he lifted 640kg in total of squat, bench press and dead-lift exercises.

He, however, has been working on weights on and off since a young age.

Speaking to, Akram said he has been lifting weights since he was in high school.

The 27-year-old said he has worked with weights more during the last three to four years. He obtained his medical degree in 2015 from Poland. 

But even during his early academic years, Akram said he would work out to gain stamina.

According to him, the training for powerlifting is time-consuming. “I trained for two to three hours every day and around seven times a week for I was ambitious to win the Norwegian championship.”

To a question about his hobby of tent pegging (Neza Bazi in Urdu), Akram said he is a member of the national tent pegging team in Norway, which would qualify for the tent pegging world cup in January 2018.

He said it was a sport coming down from his grandfather around 50 years ago. His father would also play the game and now he and his brother do. 

The 27-year-old said they have represented Norway in international competitions.

“We participated in an international competition last year, where teams from Russia, USA, Germany and Pakistan were also present,” he said. “We also took part in a competition in Germany this year, where we managed to win several medals.”

Although Akram was born in Norway, he has spent around eight years of his childhood in Pakistan. His father belongs to Bohat area near Mandi Bahauddin in Punjab, from where they migrated to Norway in the 1980s.

In a message to the youth, especially that of Pakistan, Akram said they all should have certain constructive goals in life.