Lebanese weightlifter Mahassen Hala Fattouh screamed with joy after making history at the Tokyo Olympics in the women’s 76kg, setting a national record for Lebanon.
Hala is the first female weightlifter to have represented Lebanon on the international stage and produced a strong all-round performance.
Hala started comfortably, lifting 88kg in her opening snatch. In her second lift, she added an extra 5kg to the bar to lift 93kg.
For her third attempt at the snatch she attempted 97kg, a weight that would have put her in second place and beaten her previous personal best. However, as Hala completed the second phase of the snatch, she came undone in the recovery and was unable to push herself up from the squat to complete the lift.
Disappointed but not defeated, the 31-year-old went into the clean and jerk placed in third, just 5kg behind the leader, Great Britain’s Emily Godley.
Hala completed all of her lifts in the clean and jerk, the only one on the stage to do so. Her final lift of 124kg equalled the highest attempt in her bracket.
With an impressive total score of 217, Hala finished in third in Group B, just 1kg off second place Kristel Ngarlem from Canada and 5kg behind winner Godley.
The performance solidified her place among the world’s best lifters while breaking more ground for the sport for women in Lebanon and the Middle East. She is ranked first in Asia.