Biography of Amna Al Haddad, Olympic Medalist

11 months ago / by Team SEEMA
Image credits: Wikimedia Commons

Amna Al Haddad is an Olympic medalist born on 21st October 1989 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. She ventured into her weightlifting career in 2017 when she was just 19 years old and got her first competition entry in October 2011.

Since her first entry into the competition, she has participated in several competitions. She made history after becoming the first female from UAE to compete in the Reebok opens, which were held from 22nd February to 25th March 2012, where she emerged position 77 out of the 170 women from Asia.

Amna joined the Asia Regionals Crossfit Team in May 2012. She made another history by becoming the first national from the Emirates and GCC to compete in the regionals while her head covered.

Weightlifting Amna Al Haddad began Olympic participation in weightlifting in the year 2013 by representing UAE at the summer Olympics held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Additionally, she competed in the Arnold Sports Festival for 3 consecutive years, not forgetting Europe, where she also competed.

 Amna was privileged to sign off Nike’s 10k race in 2015. Despite the age of Amna al Haddad being 36 years, she still trains while being fully covered in leggings and compression sleeves together with a scarf. She trains in the ritzy Jumeirah neighborhood of Dubai inside her gym in a villa.

In 2016, she said in a press that she believes that her success would somehow turn into an inspiration to many other Emirati women. Even though she failed to secure a slot in representing her country in weightlifting at the Rio Olympics, Amna al Haddad still takes part in the sport.

Amna al Haddad is at the forefront as an inspiration apart from just being an expert in women’s sports. She also strives in creating mental health awareness in the Middle East. Amna being a self-made pioneer in sports, her work has been appreciated by various prominent leaders and international media.

She is well known for breaking her record as a weightlifter from the Emirates who managed to qualify for the Olympics. Amna Al Haddad’s profession is journalism, but she continues with her sporting career. She is incredibly honored since she manages to balance her full-time journalism profession with her weightlifting career.

Apart from being a champion of change, she is also sometimes invited as a professional speaker and a panelist to discuss matters concerning sports, mental health, determination, resilience, and grit.

Amna Al Haddad’s Olympic Journey

Amna’s courage and commitment to enrolling and succeeding in an unusual sport such as weightlifting make her success story unique and inspiring. The fact that she went through all this success despite being an Arab Muslim woman makes it even more enjoyable.

With minimal training, Amna managed to qualify for UAE’s 2016 Rio Olympics and played a vital role in the championship. Despite Amna al Haddad being 22 years old at the time she picked up the sport, she never gave up and kept persisting. Her efforts turned out to be in vain when she got a back injury that prevented her from competing in the Olympics.

Amna was the first Arab female athlete to take part in the Olympics while wearing the hijab, which was historical. She now carries out campaigns to improve sections such as sports in her country.

Amna Al Haddad Revolutionary

In 2015, Amna made history as she became the first female athlete from the Emirates to receive a signing from Nike. This partnership turned out to be a success as it led to the creation of the revolutionary Nike pro-Hijab product.

She got a chance to visit Nike’s headquarters in Poland in 2016, where she received a consultation concerning the challenges that Muslim female athletes face. According to TIME’s ranking, the Nike pro hijab became the 25th best invention in 2017.

Apart from these achievements, Amna had other achievements from Nike, including being featured in Nike campaigns comprising; the Inner strength Documentary series, in which she became the first woman to e featured in it, the Nike NTC Arabic App launch, and the better for it a documentary. 

Her Inspiration for the Coming Generations

Amna was among the 100 global women with inspiration to be featured in the international bestselling good night stories. Her amazing story as the first female weightlifter from the Middle East earned her a place in the book and many kids’ hearts.

Amna Al Haddad undertakes storytelling activities for various children around the world and partners with various schools and educational centers to inspire the youth to fight for their goals and utilize their capabilities.

She receives messages and e-mails weekly from different people around the globe because they believe her story has impacted the little ones. The aspect of spending free time with the kids is also included in the biography of Amna Al Haddad. 

Amna Al Haddad As a Hope Creator

Amna spreads hope to many through her work as a representative of mental health. She was once a victim of mental health struggle, which is why she encourages the need for self-care, seeking help, and coming up with a practical approach to dealing with it.

The Advocacy speaks a lot about Amna Al Haddad. Due to this Advocacy, she became the first female journalist from UAE to receive the Carter Fellowship for Mental Health Journalism Award in 2016 through the Al Jalila Foundation, a non-profit organization organized by the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid.

On most occasions, she publishes articles concerning the subject of inspiration and success, as well as being invited as a special inspiring speaker to deliver her encouraging message.

Amna Al Haddad As a Writer

Before embarking on the Olympic weightlifting career, Amna worked as a full-time journalist at the National Newspaper in 2011. She got the privilege of securing her first interview with the gold medalist, Sheikh Ahmed Bin Hasher.

The robust reporting on social issues affecting the UAE landed her three front pages article. She covered several topics, including elections, mental health, and the well-being of the people.

As a freelancer, she has successfully done some publications in Sport360, Arabian Business, and gulf news. Amna was also part of the inspirational book The possibilities project, a handbook aimed at youth’s inspiration. Amna graduated from the American University of Sharjah with a degree in mass communication and journalism.

How Amna Al Haddad became a Weightlifter

Through an interview, Amna disclosed that her journey into sports was somehow an accident simply because she was never an athlete as she grew up. She suffered from depression as a teen, and her activeness was the only thing that saved her.

One day, she decided to take a walk to exercise for her mental health; little did she know that that walk would change her life. She joined the gym and started lifting weights as part of her routine, making her feel strong and empowered.

The more she did the exercise, the more she got an urge to achieve even bigger things. This urge led to her stumble to the Crossfit, where she had her first experience as an athlete. Realizing the low number of women in the sport, she decided to take a four-year goal to pursue Olympics as a weightlifter.

Amna Al Haddad’s View on Women’s Challenges in Sports

Amna believes that a shift needs to be created in people’s mindset that women, in general, can do what men can do when it comes to sport. She further believes that the success and choices that women make in sports need no concern from the religion and faith of the people.

There has been a lot of focus on what women wear in the past years as if it is associated with their success. She says that she is waiting for the day when people will respect one another despite the differences in faith, gender, or ethnicity.


How Many Competitions Has Amna Al Haddad Won?

Amna has won six gold and three silver medals in the IWF Asian interclub championship.

When Did Amna Al Haddad Start Her Weightlifting career?

Amna began her weightlifting career in 2007 at 19, but her first competitive career began in 2011.

Who is Amna Al Haddad’s spouse?

Amna’s relationship status is not accessible; hence no one knows her husband or her married life.


Amna has the vision to see a more fantastic world starting with the women in the Middle East. She has an urge to continue helping women through motivational speeches. Amna believes that the path she has taken will bear fruits and see most Emirati women take part in most activities that change their lifestyle positively.