BEAUFORT, S.C. (WSAV) – Mahassen Hala Fattouh made Olympic history over the weekend as the first Lebanese woman to ever take part in the weightlifting competition.
The 31-year-old, a resident of Yemassee, South Carolina, competed in the women’s 76kg Sunday, setting a personal best and finishing third in Group B.
Hala finished ninth overall, marking the highest placement for a Lebanese weightlifter since 1972.
“There are no words to describe how thankful I am,” she shared on Instagram. “I didn’t do this alone, and it’s been a very difficult 17-year journey.”
“I couldn’t have done this without my coaches, family, friends, weightlifting community, and the support from Lebanese all over the world,” she added. “I’m looking forward to being in Beirut tomorrow to be with my family.
“Thank you, everyone, for helping me achieve this dream.”
Hala’s father is Lebanese. She was born in America and moved to Yemassee to pursue training with Ray Jones in the Lowcountry.
She trained alongside Beaufort native CJ Cummings, who also finished ninth overall, competing in the men’s 73kg.
“It’s the Olympics. It’s an amazing thing,” Hala told WSAV before she officially qualified for the Tokyo Games. “It doesn’t matter what I do when I was there. Do bigger things the next time.”