Junior World Champion Weightlifter Rebeka Koha Announces Return to Competition

Koha has indicated that she's "in the right time and place."

Even the best strength athletes in the world take time away from the barbell. On Monday, Oct. 10, 2022, insidethegames reported that former Latvian weightlifter Rebeka Koha may make a return to her Olympic lifting career after a three-year hiatus. 

Koha, who married and now bears the surname Salsabil Ibrahim, withdrew from the sport of weightlifting shortly after the Tokyo Olympics was originally postponed, says insidethegames. 

Prior to her retirement, Salsabil Ibrahim was one of Europe’s most popular rising weightlifters in the 58 and 59-kilogram categories. 


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Insidethegames was reportedly told by Salsabil Ibrahim that she feels “a confidence” regarding her prospective return to the barbell:

“I don’t want to say too much and I don’t want to do something when I’m not ready … but I have been thinking about weightlifting and hopefully the Qatar Cup is possible,” Salsabil Ibrahim says. 

The Cup is a multi-sport event held in Qatar, where Salsabil Ibrahim now lives. If she makes a formal return to competitive weightlifting, she would presumably lift under the Qatari banner as well. 

Rebeka Salsabil Ibrahim’s Weightlifting Career

Since her International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) debut 11 years ago in 2011, Salsabil Ibrahim has competed across five different weight categories, with the bulk of her competitive appearances being as a 58 and 59-kilogram athlete (the IWF reorganized their competition classes in 2018). 

Along the way, she rapidly ascended the regional and world-level rankings, appearing in 37 IWF-recognized events.

Salsabil Ibrahim partook in four Senior World Championships as well as the 2016 Rio Olympics while she was still a Junior athlete. 

Some of her prominent accolades include: 

Among many other titles, per the IWF’s athlete database.

Salsabil Ibrahim’s last recognized competition was actually the 6th Qatar International Cup, where she ranked second and is where she’s hinted at returning to the sport. 

A Return to Form 

Salsabil Ibrahim competed extremely frequently across the highest levels of competitive weightlifting from a very young age, and more than deserved a long break from the rigors of the sport.

However, the apparent return of one of the strongest Junior women in Olympic lifting is an exciting prospect, especially considering her ability to bring home medals.

As a Qatari athlete, Salsabil Ibrahim would join Fares Ibrahim El-bakh, known colloquially as Meso Hassona, on the international stage. Hassona won his country’s first Olympic gold medal when he became the 96-kilogram champion at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Should he and Salsabil Ibrahim join forces, Qatar may be a force to be reckoned with as the 2024 Games in Paris inch ever closer. 

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