Amna Al Haddad
Sports Pioneer from the Middle East

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Published on April 1st, 2014 | by Amna Al Haddad


Competing at the Arnold Weightlifting Championships 2014

It’s been exactly a month since I went to the USA and have competed at the Arnold Weightlifting Championships — and my mind cannot believe it. Many things has happened since then (as it always does with me!) There is a story to tell everyday!

The more that happens to me, the more I realize a thing or two about myself and I have learned to be grateful of these challenges.

ps. in 2013, the Arnold was my first EVER weightlifting competition (Go big, or go home, right?!)



My going to the US was a “last minute” situation. Last minute I found a sponsor (wanted to remain anonymous) who came forward to support me for the event. I have always continued training (even though there were days the uncertainty took the best of me mentally). But finding a sponsor last minute says something, my hard work is paying off, and it was meant for me to go on a plane to the US! I was very grateful for that support!

Traveling Alone

This year presented a different scenario, and I wasn’t accompanied with a coach from the UAE ( although leading to the comp I was coached by messages through my former coach Natalia Tsoulia) or a group — but it was a new experience to have! In fact, it allowed me to depend on myself even more and create my own schedule, from visiting the convention center , resting, to training and more and I rather enjoyed traveling alone. You learn a lot about yourself when doing so. Despite that, I made new and met good old friends from the US that I met last year who were very helpful and supportive while I was there. They made me feel like I am home!


Warm Up

In the morning, I go to catch the USA weightlifting bus heading from the hotel in the freezing cold weather of Columbus, Ohio at 10am (although I compete at 2pm). So I happened to go 4 hours earlier to watch the athletes compete and lift (which is such a big fun part of going to competition, being surrounded by all that is WEIGHTLIFTING!)

As it is 12pm, its official weigh in time before my session starts. I weighed in as 56.8kgs (as I now compete in -58). I relax a bit after, eat food but was unable to stomach much, I happened to have eaten something that has really upset my stomach the night before :/, and feeling rather sick the day of the competition.


I was lucky to get support from coach Mike Walker who helped me a lot the day of the competition in how to warm up, when to lift, rest, and when it’s time to go on stage to make my attempts. And coach Dan the day before. I was very grateful to have someone’s eyes on me while training/competing.

Comp and Results

In weightlifting, you get under 6 minutes; 3 shots at the Snatch and 3 at the clean and jerk, and it all happens in a blink of an eye.  What an experience it is! I was satisfied with my performance, especially given the challenges I have faced. I still have PR’d my total, by lifting more and getting a better standing overall. I scored 51st out 106 women based on sinclair points. So there is definitely a huge progress :)!

Joined by a friend!

I was lucky to have a very good friend of mine, Lisa, join me in the US last minute who I have spent the last few days with — who tried to make it to the event to see me compete, but unfortunately missed it :(. Next time! ;) We spent a night at the movies and shopping! :D

Thank You!

I want to take a moment to thank those who supported before, toward the arnolds, and moving forward; it includes, PurePharma, Team Nogueira Dubai, my former coach Natalia, my doctors at California Chiropractic Center, my friends who support me behind the scenes from day-to-day basis, and last but not least, my anonymous sponsor who covered the competition expenses. :)

Over, and Out.

Until next time.











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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