Dubai: Amna Al Haddad’s dream of becoming the first Emirati woman weightlifter to take part in the Olympics has hit a roadblock. The 24-year-old, who is hoping to represent the UAE in the 2016 Rio Olympics, is desperately looking for sponsors to fund her participation in international tournaments on the road to the Olympic Games.
Speaking to XPRESS the Dubai girl said: “To find sponsors for my sport hasn’t been easy. I had to wait till the last moment to raise funds. Luckily, I found people who support my ambition and I thank them for that. But I have a long way to go as their contributions will barely cover the expenses of of my next two competitions.”
She is scheduled to take part in tournaments in the US and Thailand but her training has been hampered by reasons beyond her control. “For some time, I trained with the women’s UAE national team, but unfortunately there is no team now. I believe if I go to these competitions it will help the federation and also bring the UAE into focus,” she said.
Amna, who hopes to qualify for the 53kg category at Rio Olympics, says she will only get to know at the end of this year where she stands vis-à-vis qualification.
“I think after the IWF world championships, which is the qualification competition for the Rio 2016 Olympics taking place at the end of this year, I will be more confident to answer that question, Inshallah,” she said.
As for whether she sees herself as an inspiration for fellow Emirati women, Amna said: “As a woman who started the sports of weightlifting at the age of 22, had nothing to do with sports or had a family with a sports background and who started her journey by walking around Safa Park to now taking part (Inshallah) in the Olympic Games, I think I should leave the women and men of this country to answer this question.”