This article also available as audio. Check this out!
Subscribe and listen it anywhere:
The 96 kg weight class Olympic champion of Tokyo 2021, the clean & jerk hotshot, always 100% positive and all curly – Fares Ibrahim Saed Hassouna El-Bakh. In the weightlifting world, he is known as Meso Hassouna – a talented athlete from Qatar.
Just like his Canadian competitor Boady Santavy, Meso is genetically fated to become a genius weightlifter since his father Ibrahim Hassouna (a famous Egyptian athlete) took part in 3 Olympics (1984, 1988, 1992) and used to be the national team’s coach. By the way, he also raised the remarkable Egyptian athlete Mohamed Ehab – the Worlds and Olympic medalist.
The father actually guided Meso to a weightlifting gym when he was 10. There is a quote on Wikipedia: “I was born in a family where my father and my brothers were all outstanding athletes so weightlifting is more than just a sport for me. It is actually my family, my job, my lifestyle, and my passion.”
Being only 23 years old, Meso has tons of successful experience on the big platform as well as a huge medal collection.
The first international success sprung up in 2016 when he was 17 – the Junior Worlds bronze medal and his debut at the Rio Olympics (he finished in the 7th place). He grabbed all gold medals at the next 3 Junior Worlds and made an impressive headway. In 2019, Meso won his first senior silver. Then, 2021 was especially successful for him: the silver medal at the Asia Championships in the 102 kg weight class, the Olympic gold, and the World’s silver in Tashkent in the 96 kg weight class in just 3,5 months.
We caught Meso after his performance in Tashkent to ask him a few questions:
That time, his result was:
Snatch: 172 kg – 6th place
Clean&Jerk: 222 kg – gold medal
Total: 394 kg – silver medal
Have you managed to achieve all the goals and show the desired result at this championship?
M.H. I will be frank with you, I had expected more, but now I’m glad with how everything has played out. The preparation was really short this time so I’m happy!
Didn’t you have any break and rest after the Olympics?
M.H. Vice versa, I had a rather long recovery period so it turned out to be really hard to get back to heavy workouts. But I think our team indeed squeezed everything I was ready for.
What is wrong with your snatch again?
(Meso has a stable and powerful clean & jerk, but sometimes finishes with only one successful attempt in the snatch)
M.H. Yes, yes…nothing to be proud of, as always (laughing)…actually, I was some kind of tight and careful with my shoulder because it hadn’t let me work well in the snatch for a few weeks before the competition.
Though everyone saw you as a leader at the competition, you ended in the 6th position after the snatch. How did you feel about that?
M.H. I’m always okay with failures: you may be lucky at the competition or mess something up, whether it is the snatch or the clean & jerk; in any case, you should carry on working towards your goals rather than being upset. If I had started analyzing my snatch before the clean & jerk, the competition would have been over for me. Therefore, I always let failures go and keep on moving to a victory!
And what happened in the 3rd clean & jerk attempt?
(Meso pulled the bar above the knees and let it fall)
M.H. While standing on the platform, I felt that my competition was over. I was already tired and turned off. I also had the shoulder on my mind because it was bugging me throughout all previous attempts. I didn’t want to devastate it.
What do you think about Lesman Paredez’s performance – the Columbian champion in your weight class?
M.H. He is cool! I didn’t expect such a powerful result and performance. I supposed that he would snatch 181-182 kilos and clean & jerk up to 210. But he crushed it and lifted 187+213. So I’m pretty serious about having a conversation with him at the next competition (laughing). Generally, I want to say that I’m really happy and proud to compete side-by-side with such strong people as Vallenilla Keydomar, and Boady Santavy: they are all outstanding athletes and great people!!!
Author: Tanya Shaiko
News Editor, Olympic Lifting Enthusiast
Best Results: Snatch – 61 kg,
C&J – 78 kg
I’m Tanya, and I love lifting weights. 6 years ago, I picked up Olympic weightlifting and fitness. Weightlifting is a unique sport because it’s just you against the bar. There are no teammates to help you out; it’s all on you.
I’m also passionate about helping other women achieve their fitness goals. That’s why I started my blog and write some products reviews. I want to show other women that they can do anything they set their mind to!