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Five years ago, #amnaalhaddad was a young journalist in the United Arab Emirates with an unhealthy lifestyle. This April 25, she hopes to qualify for Rio.
“Before all this, I was depressed and a few pounds overweight,” Al Haddad recalls. “Then there was a day where I was like, ‘You can do much more than this. You can be better than this.' So, I said to myself, ‘Go and do something. Go for a walk.’ And that’s what I did. I went for a walk and that changed my life. From there, I started going to the gym normally and then I got into CrossFit, which changed my view of strength sports for women, and I just fell in love with weightlifting.”
This discovery eventually took her to the United States for her first #competition. Located in Columbus, Ohio, it introduced her to a world of athletes with similar goals and her future coach, who encouraged her to transfer to Akron, Ohio, where he trained. The push was all Al Haddad needed to move from her home in Dubai to a training environment with a more established infrastructure for female weightlifters. Once settled in Akron, her new coach and the opportunity to train regularly with other athletes in her #sport accelerated her progress. And despite a back injury last summer, Al Haddad still has her gaze set on Rio and qualifying with the UAE team, but her goals stretch beyond the games.
“It’s a journey. It’s not just going to Rio or not. It’s more about learning about who you are, and how you can impact the world in a positive way and that’s what I want to focus on: Keep impacting the world in a positive way.”
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