Latvia’s champion weightlifter Rebeka Koha announced July 26 she has converted to the Islamic faith.

Koha, who has won multiple medals for Latvia including European Championships, as previously reported by LSM, made the announcement on her Instagram account and asked that in future people did not use pictures of her that displayed her hair or parts of her body, in line with her particular interpretation of Islam.


In the spring, Koha became engaged to 21-year-old Qatari discus thrower Moaz Mohamed Ibrahim, who in 2016 became the U-20 World Athletics Champion. 

Koha’s coach Eduards Andruškevičs told the LETA newswire that professing the Islamic faith need not interfere with the athlete’s future career, and that he was presently more concerned about the health of her knees, which have been under strain due to the heavy loads exerted upon them by the sport.

Last year, Koha convincingly defended the title of European champion, and she has two bronze medals from the 2017 and 2018 world championships in her trophy cabinet. Koha has been nominated for the Best Athlete of the Year award in Latvia several times. She is one of Latvia’s main hopes for a medal at the Tokyo Olypic Games, though competition and qualification is currently suspended due to the coronavirus crisis.

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