BEIRUT: Cynthia-Anna Lyane spent her childhood learning how to change brake pads and balance wheels. Eventually, she rode her car and raced away from gender norms to later become a Lebanese drifting champion.
“My mother taught me how to drive at a very young age. By doing that, she planted in me a seed that later flourished into a passion,” Lyane told Annahar. “As I grew older, I started visiting garages and observing how every part of the car works. My passion fed my curiosity.”
Although social norms pressured her to major in architecture during her first few university years, her passion for cars was strong enough to make her transfer into electro mechanics later.
She also started taking drifting lessons at Prodrifterz academy where she met her mentor, Lebanese drifting champion Oliver Kik.
“His presence during my journey was very essential since he believed in my abilities and empowered me every step of the way,” Lyane said. “Until today, he remains my dose of motivation before every competition.”
At the age of 28, Lyane decided to professionally pursue drifting while working as a mechanic in a reputable company.
She started taking double the training sessions she took previously and watching more drifting videos to see the different styles of various drifters.
“One has to practice daily in order to develop their drifting skills. Furthermore, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is essential to gain the suitable energy to focus and drive properly,” Lyane explained. “I make an effort to train daily and sometimes compromise other parts of my lifestyle; this career is a priority.”
To this day, Lyane has won a number of Lebanese drifting championships in the women’s category, proving herself to be a tough competitor.
“There’s always the misconception in Lebanon that women don’t know how to drive and that they don’t fit in the automotive field,” she said. “My advice to aspiring women mechanics is this: don’t let anything limit you and don’t let anyone tell you what you can do or be. When I’m drifting, I forget the world and tune out all of people’s judgments: that’s how we should do daily.”
As a woman in a male-dominated field, Lyane expressed to NAYA the constant discrimination and fierce underestimation she faces.
“When we [a group of women drifters] joined the men drifters for the introduction of one of the many competitions we had, they started laughing at us and underestimating our abilities,” she said. “To their shock, I competed against them in one of the championships and I ranked third.”
As for her future plans, Lyane will be participating in the Red Bull Car park drift this year. She aims to prove once again that “all sports know no gender.”
Welcome to “Naya”, the newest addition to Annahar’s coverage. This section aims at fortifying Lebanese women’s voices by highlighting their talents, challenges, innovations, and women’s empowerment. We will also be reporting on the world of work, family, style, health, and culture. Naya is devoted to women of all generations-Naya Editor, Sally Farhat: [email protected]
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