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AUS alumna to participate in international weightlifting tournament
Amna Al Haddad, an alumna of American University of Sharjah (AUS), is currently representing the UAE at the Arnold Weightlifting Championships (AWC) held this week in Columbus, Ohio, USA.
The Arnold Weightlifting Championships is one of the International Weightlifting Federation's leading competitions. World-record holders from Bulgaria, the United States, Great Britain, Russia, China, Pacific Islands and Armenia have competed in Columbus since 2003 for numerous prizes, scholarships and cash.
Al Haddad, a 23-year-old UAE national, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication, Journalism and a minor in psychology from AUS in Fall 2010. Al Haddad has previously worked as a journalist for The National newspaper, but has quit her job to pursue weightlifting full time.
"I was leading an unhealthy lifestyle until 2009, when I made the decision to change the course of my life. I have found out that weight training was one of the most effective methods to lose body fat, strengthen the bones, and increase lean muscle mass. Unlike the misconception, women do not get bulky or big as a result of weight training," said Al Haddad.
"I am taking this huge responsibility upon my shoulders with a lot of pride, as I want to show it is possible to pursue your passion and still respect religion, and be feminine even pursing a sport such as weightlifting," she added.
Al Haddad's ultimate goal is to represent the UAE at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. She is currently sponsored by Sultan Saeed Al Darmaki, but is still searching for full sponsorship.
Al Haddad became the first UAE and GCC female national to compete in the Reebok Crossfit Games Open last year and was ranked 77 out of 170 women in Asia. She qualified to compete with a team in the Asia Regionals, in South Korea in 2012, being the first UAE and GCC national to compete in the Asia Regionals and the only Muslim woman to do so in a headscarf. Al Haddad can be followed on her website, www.999fitness.ae.