Arab American Women Athletes to Celebrate
4 Athletes Who've Changed the Game For Arab American Women and Girls in Sports
Mahassen Hala Fattouh Paiva, First Woman to Represent Lebanon in Weightlifting
Fattouh Paiva told POPSUGAR via email that she loves the community of athletes involved in weightlifting, as well as the strength required to compete. The sport has also given her the opportunity to travel. "Weightlifting has taken me to countries all over where I've made priceless memories and experienced some of the wonderful cultures this world has to offer," she said.
Fattouh Paiva, now 31, earned silver in the Women's 63KG Clean and Jerk event at the 2018 Mediterranean Games, which was Lebanon's first international medal in Women's Olympic Weightlifting. But before that, she became the first woman to represent Lebanon in Olympic Weightlifting in 2014 at the IWF World Championships. You can find a full (impressive) list of accolades on her website.
Aiming to qualify and compete in the Tokyo Olympics this summer for Lebanon, Fattouh Paiva's next big competition is the Asian Weightlifting Championships this month, she said, adding that the qualification period was extended to the end of May, so she'll find out shortly after that if she's earned an Olympic berth. "Long term, I would love the opportunity to compete in Paris 2024, but the most important thing to me is to stay healthy, keep doing what I love, and spread that to more of my community."
Fattouh Paiva wants other Arab American athletes to remember their passion. "Do what you love! Have fun! And make sure you surround yourself with people who support your goals and respect and value you in and out of your sport," she said.
Follow Mahassen Hala Fattouh Paiva on Instagram: @mahassenhala