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Meet the First Palestinian Woman Weight Lifter, Subreen Dari

posted on: Mar 10, 2021

Subreen Dari. Source: Subz2.

By Ruqyah Sweidan / Arab America Contributing Writer

Subreen Dari is a mother of two, a nurse, and an award-winning weightlifter. Of proud Palestinian descent, Subreen was born in New York and grew up in Ohio. Her family originally hails from Palestine’s Jerusalem suburbs of Al-Issawia. Subreen had, by chance, become interested in weightlifting in 2015 as she was taking her son to the gym for sports training. She decided to sign up for a weight-lifting class, and today, she is in the best shape of her life.

Weightlifting became the passion of this adventurous woman. Given Subreen’s petite frame, the weight she lifts is impressive. Her pursuit of this sport is breaking stereotypes as a hijabi female, as well. Subreen advocates that anyone can do anything, no matter their background.

Passion for Weightlifting

Subreen describes weightlifting as a source of therapy. It makes her happy. The sport helps her to feel that she is part of a greater movement. She was not officially introduced into the weightlifting community; she merely kept attending a class. As a frequent competition participant since 2017, Subreen marks her achievement of a “clean and jerked 178 pounds.” Her weight limit continues to increase with her training.

Winning Record

Subreen Dari. Source: PalestineinAmerica.

Since 2019, she has been on a team and has been winning awards. In the Ohio weightlifting championship, Subreen and her team of six women won the best team in Ohio. Four-time National Championship qualifier, she then went on to win gold medals for four consecutive Ohio State Championships, three silver medals at the 2019 American Open Series, and two bronze medals at the 2020 American Open Series. Most recently, Subreen has placed in the top ten in the National Championships of December 2020. She finished 15th in the nation for 2020 in her weight class.

Subreen’s discipline is what helps her to continue improving. She recalls being able to learn safety and techniques relatively quick. Her coach, Reggie Hodges, taught her everything that she knows. With an open mind to learning from an expert, she was humbled by the many factors involved in successful weightlifting. As a woman, weightlifting has additionally been beneficial to her health and invites other women who are interested in weightlifting to try it as well. Subreen is proud to be a role model for her kids. Her son and daughter take after their mother in wanting to be as strong as she is. Her son plays baseball, and the pair exercise together often.

Palestinian Representation in Weightlifting

Subreen Training. Source: Subz2

Subreen is currently in line for the 2024 Paris Olympics. The Palestinian Weightlifting Federation (PWF) reached out to her this past July, as they are assembling a National team for Palestine. By being Palestinian, Subreen could apply and get an athlete visa to compete. She will be the first hijab woman in the weightlifting sports to represent Palestine in an international competition, and she invites more Muslim women to the stage – hoping that one day she will no longer be the only one like her on stage.

Subreen says, ” I cannot wait to hold the Palestinian flag in the 2024 Olympics and show the world that Palestinians have always existed and will continue to exist despite all adversity.

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