Born – October 21
Her Story: Simple Action Can Change your Life!
A simple walk was the determining factor of who Amna Al Haddad is today. Battling with her overall health and mental health, one day she decided to take charge of her life by taking action. The walk changed the course of her life and made her the pioneering athlete and inspirational figure she is today.
Empowered with new knowledge about the fitness industry, she wanted to share her new hacks with the world. That’s when her blog www.999fitness.ae was born. Yet, she remained anonymous for a whole year due to speaking about weightlifting for women was unheard of in the Middle East.
First Speaking gig: TEDx!
Her voice was so powerful, her blog attracted the organizers of Tedx who invited her to share her fitness journey in front of 1000s of people to inspire them into health living at TedxAjman in April.
Full-Time Journalist at The National Newspaper
In 2011, Amna joined the National Newspaper as a full-time journalist soon after graduating from the American University of Sharjah in 2010. She worked at the News Desk and was the only full-time Emirati Journalist at the time. She was tasked with bringing forth unique Emirati stories, covering the first Federal National Council Elections, and a variety of taboo topics. During her time there, she had 3 front page byline and the very first exclusive interview with HH Sheikh Ahmed Bin Hasher, an Olympic shooter and the only Emirati holding an Olympic Gold Medal. Amna resigned after one year to pursue her sports career. Read More.
CrossFit: Inspiring a Generation
Amna found her love for competitive sports after participating in a number of local competitions and decided to challenge herself and take up a sport seriously. She was introduced to Crossfit in the summer of 2011. A few months in, she made it her goal to train to compete at the CrossFit Open Games, her first ever international-based competition and sport participation. Read More.
Successful completing the 5-week qualifying workouts
Successful completing the 5-week qualifying workouts at the Asia level, Amna individually ranked 77 out 170 women regionally and had placed in the top 3 as part of a local Crossfit Team, qualifying them to the regionals!
CrossFit to Weightlifting: Olympic Journey Begins
Noticing the lack of representation of Middle Eastern women in sports in the media and international competitions, Amna decided to choose an Olympic sport that can be measured. This was the beginning of her journey to the Olympics as a weightlifter. Coincidently, she became the First Arab and GCC Woman to become a competitive covered weightlifter – it turned heads and created headlines!
First Weightlifting Competition – in the USA!
Always up for a serious challenge, instead of competing locally or regionally, Amna traveled many miles to the United States to compete to her first ever weightlifting event – at the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus, Ohio. She competed three years consecutively at the event.
Competitions & Placings in 2013
- 1st place at the Pyrros Dimas competition in the Burn Room, in Dubai, August 22nd, 2013
- 5th place & first Emirati to compete in the 10th International ASVO-NO Women Weightlifting Grand Prix, Austria, May 2013
- 2nd place in the 4th International Ladies Weightlifting meet in Belgium, July 6th, 2013
Puori, formerly known as Purepharma – a Denmark-based company – was inspired by Amna’s story and became her first international Sponsor.
Competing in Germany
Competed at the 11th International Women’s Grand Prix event that took place Germany. The year competition attracts over 17 nations, Olympians and world champions.
Starring in Ray-Ban Ad (Tough as Leader!)
Move to US
Amna decided to take her training up a notch to pursue more technical training as facilities and coaching in the UAE were limited for Olympic Weightlifting. She had moved to Ohio, United States. During her time there, she had more access to many competition, proper training environment, and Olympic-level coaching.
Cosmopolitan USA coverage
Amna’s progressive thinking and sporting achievements led to her be recognized as 1 of 8 incredible women in the ‘No Ceilings’ campaign, a collaboration between The Clinton Foundation and Cosmopolitan USA. Read More.
Gold Medals in Jordan IWF Competition
After two years of international competition, Amna joined the UAE National Female Weightlifting Team in Jordan to compete in her first regional event. During the event, Amna earned 6 gold medals and 3 silver medals for her performance at the IWF Arab, West-Asian, and Asian Inter-club championships in Jordan 23 – 30, 2015.
Amna X Nike
Amna was approached by Nike for a sponsorship contract as a weightlifter from the UAE due to her success and clear Olympic goal. This made her the First Emirati Female Individual Athlete to be signed by Nike.
First Arab to open a Nike We Run 10k Race
Soon after, Nike Middle East invited Amna to become the First Arab Female Athlete to Signal off We Run Dubai 10k race for more than 10,000 people!
Amna x Nike NTC Arabic app Launch
Amna was chosen to be part of Nike’s NTC Arabic Launch. The video showcases her training while she was pursuing her training in the United States.
Historic Visit to Nike HQ, Portland
Recognizing the power of one athlete in creating global Mindshift and changing perceptions, Nike invited Amna to consult on the needs of Female Muslim Athletes where she shared her challenges, clothing requirements, etc. Amna became the First Arab Athlete invited to Nike HQ to voice their needs.
Inner Strength Documentary: Raising the Bar
Too many firsts! Once again, Amna became the First Woman Globally Featured in the Inner Strength series.
Asian Championships: Rio Olympic Qualifications in Uzbekistan
Amna realized her Olympic goal when she was selected to represent the United Arab Emirates at the Asian Championship – Olympic Qualifier. She was part of a 7-member Female UAE National Weightlifting team that competed to earn a quota for the Rio Olympics, April 21 – April 30. She had the second highest score in the team, despite a serious back injury at the time. Only the top 4 scores were counted toward the quota allocation; her points had a key role in earning the UAE a spot at the Rio Olympics in August. Unfortunately, due to her injuries, she was unable to continue the journey.
First Emirati awarded Rosalynn Carter Fellowship
As a reputable journalist and continuous advocacy on raising awareness about mental health, Amna was awarded as the First Emirati to receive the Rosalynn Carter Fellowship for Mental Health in journalism in support from Al Jalila Foundation in the UAE. Amna used her voice to raise awareness through writing articles, delivering speeches, and a social media campaign.
New path, encouraging leaders of tomorrow
Due to the challenges and adversity Amna encountered during her journey as a pioneering female Arab athlete, she made the decision to use her experience and expertise shed light on the challenges, overcoming obstacles, and programs needed to improve the future of sports through consultation, mentorship, speeches and workshops.
She officially retried from competition as a result of her injury.
Amna receives Arab Woman Award, Sports
Amna receives Arab Woman Award, Sports
Amna journey leaves a legacy, inspiration behind Nike Pro Hijab
Don’t underestimate the power of one individual! In 2017, Nike made the announcement they are releasing the revolutionary Nike Pro Hijab in the market. Amna played an important role in its initial creation process by sharing her needs during her historic Nike HQ visit as a Muslim athlete in 2016. The result? 100 of thousands of covered Muslim women are now part of Amna’s legacy.
Featured in Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls
Due to Amna’s brave story from struggling with unhealthy living and overall well-being to becoming an icon of the modern woman as a weightlifter, her story was chosen as 1 out 100 inspirational women documented in the bestseller children’s book in v.1, as the first and only Emirati story.
Arab Woman Awards x Dubai Mall
In a special representation of the 100 women who won the Arab Women Award to-date, The Dubai Mall honored the women by displaying their pictures on the pillars of the Mall in celebration of International Women’s Day.
Contributing Author: The Possibilities Project
As part of a collaborative book, Amna contributed a chapter in The Possibilities Project: A young person’s guide to career success which was launched at Emirates Airline Literature Festival in February 2020. The book (also available as an e-book) is a free handbook for students, to help them on a journey of self-discovery independence and career success.