Amna Al Haddad
Sports Pioneer from the Middle East

Blog 007

Published on December 26th, 2012 | by Amna Al Haddad


Seminar: Development of Weightlifting Sport in the UAE

The sport of weightlifting in definitely taking a big notice in the UAE and there are definitely a lot of efforts and steps being taken to improve the sport.

Last weekend, I attended The Olympic Solidarity course, titled “Technical, Coaching and Refereeing” which was held from the 19th – 22nd of December under the supervision of the UAE Olympic Committee, UAE Weightlifting Federation, and International Weightlifting federation.

Headed by Aveenash Pandoo, International speaker for the IWF and RSA National Coach, discussed a paradigm shift in coaching for the sport of weightlifting and its importance for the athlete’s longevity.

I found the course extremely educational and an eye opener from sport-specific, technical and coaching perspective. Being someone who made the decision to train to compete in the sport of weightlifting, I recently been made aware of that – yes, although the Russians, Chinese and Bulgarian are some of the common training programs – not everyone should train like them. In fact, it’s a big mistake.


  • The way athletes live in the UAE are not the same as those who live in China. Differences in body structure, eating habits, lifestyle, and culture are all things to consider when training an athlete. Failing to see the differences, not only could lead to injuries, but for athletes to quit the sport and not reach their full potential.
  • It is also important to consider short-term and long-term goals in terms of training methodology. You cannot expect to walk into a training session and doing snatches and clean & jerks and expect to excel either technically or strength wise without a proper plan or a specific training cycle that will get the athlete ready for competition and peak when needed. This all goes down to coaching!

10 Year Rule: “It takes 10 years of extensive practice to excel in anything ! – H. Simon Nobel Laureate

  • Furthermore, a lot of weightlifters, once their talents are spotted, tend to overcompete and undertrain. This becomes an issue as the focus of the “process” is lost and only “outcomes” are expected. And this is often a consequence of lack of parent education, administration education, and lack of integration of sport-science,  tactical activities, and sport medicine among other factors.

The paradigm shift of coaching of  “The Long Term Weightlifting Development” looks at all aspects and considers all factors affecting the sport. Training and competing are just a small part of a bigger picture. There is a lot involved, required and needed to sustain the sport of weightlifting and its athletes.

There are key decision makers, health professionals, and coaches who are involved to develop an athlete. As mentioned in the discussion, it requires an “army of support” to develop one athlete, let alone an Olympic athlete. Is the UAE ready for this? I sure hope so, because I am ready to make it to the 2016 Olympics.

Finally, to end this post, I will leave you with a short video of the last two days of the event which was geared toward a practical session as well as a local competition between the weightlifters – Enjoy!





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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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