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Meso Hassouna at the WWC 2023 in Riyadh: training schedule and ambitions for the Olympics in 2024 [Interview]

We succeeded in interviewing a promising lifter from Qatar Fares Ibrahim Saed Hassouna El-Bakh, also known as Meso Hassouna. We had a unique chance to see the final sessions before the competition and his performance.

A Qatari weightlifter with the best C&J technique

So, who is Meso Hassouna? He’s a Qatari weightlifter, Olympic champion, and two-time Junior World champion. He’s a holder of a C&J Junior record of 225 kg and a total of 397 kg in the 96 kg category. He performed the best Snatch of 176 kg and C&J of 228 kg.

This year, at the Qualifying event for the Paris 2024 Meso is going to compete in the 102 kg division. His training session is focused most on practicing heavy C&J and strength accessory drills that aim to test his readiness for the competition. Meso said that he feels really comfortable, despite the fact that it’s his first-time performance since the Championships in Colombia 2022.

By the way, we noticed that a Qatari weightlifter performs quite an unusual exercise of several sets and two 55 kg clean pulls from high blocks for four reps. He calls it “the workout for the second pull” helping him to become faster and make the body get used to greater loads.


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Training regime and ambitions

Speaking about the training program, Hassouna’s coach changed the regime because of the back injury. Still, Meso is very confident and prepares for the gold Snatch of around 180 kg and C&J of approximately 217-220 kg indicators and perform to the maximum. He said that he wants to take one, or a maximum of two attempts, and win gold.

Another interesting thing is that Meso Hassouna does nothing for the Snatch training, just concentrating on C&J. Although, he admitted that his best Clean ever was 232 kg during the training session. Also, he has one of the best C&J technique: it’s powerful and explosive, while the catch position is tight and efficient.

We asked Meso to measure his grip strength. With his left, the lifter showed a mediocre result of 78.20 kg, but with the right hand, he showed us much better numbers – 90.45 kg.

Meso Hassouna Grip Strength
Meso Hassouna Grip Strength

Meso’s goals for the WWC 2023 and Paris 2024

Taking into account Meso’s back injury that happened at the beginning of August, the training program has been completely changed to be able to train every exercise and compound movement in a shortcut. There are only three weeks for him to get prepared and perform to the maximum.

For you to know, 10 weight divisions are qualifying at the WWC in Riyadh, both men and women. But, for the Olympic Games, there will be only 5 categories, but the 96 kg category where Meso Hassouna competes now won’t be present in the program. 

So, the only solution for the Qatari lifter is to move to a heavier weight class, namely to the 102 kg category. Meso says that he feels heavy and he tries to get accommodated to this weight, but, still, he has enough power and stamina to perform well.

Interesting facts about the lifter

An interesting fact revealed to us is that Meso isn’t the only professional lifter in his family: there are already five generations doing weightlifting. His father, grandfather, and grand-grandfather were also lifting weights as professionals and were participating in the Olympic games as well. Also, his father was a personal coach of another lifter, Mohamed Ehab. So, Meso succeeded in training with him a lot which helped him to gain more experience in this sport.

Meso Hassouna and His Coaches Team
Meso Hassouna and His Coaches Team

We asked Meso about his training and whether he prefers training alone or with other lifters or teammates. He admitted that mostly he trains alone at home. He has all the necessary things for good training there, focusing on his inner world, being himself, and even listening to his favorite music.

The last question we asked him was about Snatch or Clean & Jerk: he answered: “Definitely, Clean & Jerk! I don’t like Snatch.”

The competition is gaining momentum and lots of eye-grabbing moments and dramatic performances are awaiting for us. Stay tuned to our channels and you’ll know all the news from Riyadh first.

Read the full report about each day of IWF World Championships 2023 in Riyadh prepared by our media team. Don’t miss the opportunity to stay updated and follow this great event in the Olympic weightlifting world with us from the very beginning till the end!

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Tanya Shaiko

Author: Tanya Shaiko
News Editor, Olympic Lifting Enthusiast

Oly Lifting Experience: 6 years
Best ResultsSnatch – 61 kg,
C&J – 78 kg

I’m Tanya, and I just can’t do without fitness. About six years ago, I got into Olympic weightlifting and instantly fell in love with it. Weightlifting is like no other sport – it’s just you versus the bar. Driven by my unwavering passion for an active lifestyle, I’ve been eager to share my personal journey and sports enthusiasm with others. As a journalist and photographer, my interests come full circle, adding an extra dimension to the news column that I curate. This way, I keep my readers updated with the latest happenings in the sports world.

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