First hijabi weightlifter from UAE

From a full-time journalist to being the first hijabi weightlifter from the Gulf, Amna Al Haddad has come a long way as she recounts her journey with sport360.

Hiba Khan
by Hiba Khan
16th March 2017

article:16th March 2017

Known as the first hijabi weightlifter in the Gulf and the first Arab woman to compete in Crossfit, Amna Al Haddad has been elevated to an inspirational icon for Muslim women and aspiring athletes.

The 27-year-old Emirati started off her journey as a fitness blogger and a full-time journalist for a local newspaper, but quickly realised that her passion didn’t stop at writing about it.

“I used to work for a newspaper in the past, and I noticed that my passion is actually sports and it’s not being a full-time journalist. So I decided to quit my job and pursue sports full-time, but I had absolutely no plans on how to go about it,” Amna Al Haddad told Sport360.

1st Arab to open a #Nike 10k race last year, November. Thank you @nike for believing in me and choosing me for this awesome role!

A photo posted by CEO of my Awesome Journey 🇦🇪 (@amna.s.alhaddad) on

It was a bold decision on her part, but the weightlifter made it work for her with her constant hard work and dedication.

As the first hijabi weightlifter in the Gulf, Amna Al Haddad had to face many obstacles because of her headscarf and held the media responsible for making the hijab the most politically-charged article of clothing.

She said, “You see, the thing with hijab and sports is that, it is a very new concept. But I am not a big fan of how the media is portraying the situation, because it is just an extension of who I am, it is not who I am. The hijab is part of what I do, it is part of who I am and it is part of my religion, it is not everything that I am.”

Amna Al Haddad is one of the success stories of the UAE, who reached her goals purely through her own efforts and without being handed anything.

As a proud Emirati, Amna Al Haddad aims to represent UAE on bigger platforms and hopes to promote health and fitness, not only among women, but everyone.

Click here to read Amna Al Haddad’s story from depression to Olympic goal