First female Olympic weightlifter for Lebanon breaks personal best
By Mike McCombs
For Mahassen Hala Fattouh’s Team Beaufort teammate C.J. Cummings, a ninth-place finish in his Olympic debut, though nothing to be ashamed of, was likely a disappointment.
Conversely, for Fattouh, her ninth-place finish Sunday in Tokyo was quite simply the best performance of her career. And on the biggest stage.
Fattouh, 31, completed five of six lifts in Group B of the Women’s 76-kilogram weight class to finish with a personal-record 217 kg total while becoming the first woman in history to compete in the Olympics in weightlifting for Lebanon.
“I’m so proud of her. She’s trained her whole life for this moment,” Team Beaufort coach Ray Jones said. “She was competing against herself and she won. Couldn’t ask for anything else.”
In the Snatch, Fattouh completed lifts of 88 and 93 kg before missing at 97kg. In the Clean & Jerk, she hit all three lifts at 112, 118 and 124 kg.
The 124 kg Clean & Jerk was a personal record, and she broke her overall personal record by 5 kg with her 217 kg total.
“I just want to have fun, so if I can make lifts and hopefully hit a personal record that day, then I would be more than happy,” Fattouh said last month.
Ecuador’s Neisi Patricia Dajomes Barrera won the gold medal with a 263 kg total, but American Katie Nye made big news. Nye’s total of 249 kg was good enough for silver, the first Olympic medal by an American weightlifter since the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles.
Mexico’s Aremi Fueltes Zuvala lifted a total of 245 kg to win the bronze medal.
After the Olympics, Fattouh will fly with her husband Ryan Paiva to Lebanon to see family.
Mike McCombs is the editor of The Island News and can be reached at TheIslandNews@gmail.com.