Amna Al Haddad
Sports Pioneer from the Middle East

Blog 2nd place

Published on July 18th, 2013 | by Amna Al Haddad


2nd Place in a Weightlifting International Meet

Hello everyone!

I have been quite absent for a while now. Not necessarily for a good reason, just haven’t been able to express myself through the written or verbal word as needed.

Unlike my regular posts on my competition and training experiences, this will be quite quick and short.

Earlier in July, I have traveled to Belgium and took part of yet another International competition, the 4th International Ladies Open and Masters in Waregem, Belgium. The more I experience competition in the sport of weightlifting, the more I am understanding the tactics, learning tips on how to manage certain aspects of competition and understanding the importance of mental game.

I have had arrived to Belgium 2 days prior to the competition to acclimatize. Travel was quite long, as there were a bunch of stops in the airport and taking the train in Belgium. Once reached Belgium safely, I stayed in at the Ambassade Hotel (which a lovely and quite cozy place, with great service by the manager who’ve been very helpful during my stay).

Visiting the training center, after a few hours rest, was quite nice – although I was completely out of it, however, my lifts weren’t suffering as I thought they might be due to lack of energy and travel. The atmosphere was very raw with bumper plates and barbells thrown around everywhere (just how I like it) – only job to get done is pull, push and finish in that room.

Two days later, it was competition day — Thing I have learned to watch out for in competition day.

1. If weight matters to you (and it does to me)

  • Seriously watch what you eat before competition (i.e. limiting carb intake — don’t go crazy cause you found a halal chicken burger (BEST burger I’ve had, though!)
  • Restrict water intake a day before the competition

2.  Just because you PB in training, expect nerves to take over in competition

  • There is no shame in adjusting your numbers on the spot or day of. Many thing effect your lifts on competition day (from nerves, exhaustion from travel, adjusting to new eating lifestyle in a foreign country with limited preferred food intake)
  • Following yourself is nerve-wrecking, and two minutes pass by REALLY fast. Focus and mental toughness is a must in this situation to make a lift.

3.  There are many ways to evaluate performance (and each time it could be different, i.e.goals, psychology, physical  ability, etc.).  My positive outcomes from this competition, were:

  • I got 5/6 lifts (that’s a comp PB on it’s own. In a competition, that’s considered a great meet.
  • I am consistent with my other competition totals
  • I have only returned to lifting 2.5 weeks prior to the competition (due to a wrist injury that got me sitting out for 6 weeks off lifting) and was still able to perform.
  • Oh…and best one yet, I placed 2nd in the senior category in an international competition in Europe!

Overall it was a great experience, and I am looking forward to participate in more competitions throughout the year as weightlifters compete up to 8 times/year, and the more experience I get the more my chances are going to be higher to get better, lift more, and bring more wins back to the UAE.

I would like to thank my sponsor Sultan Saeed Al Darmaki for his support toward my competition trips that are helping me and allowing me to represent the UAE internationally.

If anyone is interested in further supporting me toward my 2016 Olympic goal, please contact me on

Until next time!



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About the Author

Amna Al Haddad , born in 21 Oct 1989, is an Emirati who always had a passion for health and fitness. She made history by being the first Emirati and GCC national to ever to participate in the Reebok Crossfit Games Asia Regionals. Since then she embarked on Olympic Weightlifting with being an IWF Arab and West-Asian Champ -63. A NIKE sponsored athlete, a motivational speaker and published author.

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