Friday Oct 22, 2021
Her truck tumbled over not once but twice, still the injured and bruised Mahum Shiraz Qureshi jumped right back into her damaged vehicle and raced through the desert to finish the off-road Gwadar Rally this weekend.
When Mahum finally reached the finish line, her windshield was smashed as her Toyota truck had rolled over twice in the burning desert, yet she was triumphant.
Mahum told Geo.tv that she was ready to pack up and go home, when her truck stopped moving. “I was really disappointed that the race was over,” she said. But then the truck started again and she climbed back in.
“It felt unbelievable,” she added, “I couldn’t imagine what we had done. We had rolled over, had an accident, my hand was bleeding, the car was in an awful condition, but we still managed to finish the race.”
On hearing of the crash, her father, Shiraz Qureshi, who was also competing in the race, rushed to where she was. When he reached the 22-year-old, she had been sitting under the open sun for two hours, with a bleeding hand.
“I treated her injuries and gave her water,” Qureshi told Geo.tv, over the phone from his home in Karachi. He then started the truck and surprisingly it revved up.
Qureshi said his daughter then quickly turned to him and asked if she could finish the race. “She said, ‘Baba can I finish it?’” he recalled, “Finishing the race is a big honor for a racer, you know.”
The Gwadar Rally is a yearly event in which nearly 200 racers from across Pakistan participate. After a break last year due to COVID-19, the rally was held this year for three days between October 14 and 17.
But Mahum did not make her debut from Gwadar. She entered her first grand race last February in Cholistan.
Qureshi, who himself has been racing for over seven years, told Geo.tv that Mahum was always curious about the off-road races. “She was interested and then I also pushed her a little,” he said.
As for Mahum, the races are more than just a sport.
The law student hopes to inspire other women to join as grand racers. “Sometimes it is a little intimidating when there are around 90 men in a race and only four or five women,” she told Geo.tv, “But that also motivates me to be an inspiration for other young women.”