Marking International Father’s Day, on June 19, the Palestine Chronicle spent a day in Gaza with a Palestinian father and his family. International referee and coach Samir Khzeeq was at a local gym, practicing his favorite sport of weightlifting along with his two sons, Adham and Ahmed.
Khzeeq, a 52-year-old coach and international weightlifting referee, passed on his passion for this sport to his sons Adham, 29, and Ahmed, 16, who are set to represent the State of Palestine in Arab and international competitions.
Khazeeq told The Palestine Chronicle that he began training in 1986 with rudimentary equipment. With time, he managed to acquire better equipment and actual iron weights, which allowed him to develop his skills even more.
Khzeeq explained that he was nominated by the Palestinian team in 1993 to represent Palestine in the Arab Championship in Iraq, but he was unable to travel, due to the closure of the crossings by the Israeli occupation.
“I worked as a coach for the Palestinian national team for weightlifting in the Arab Championship in Qatar in 2011,” Khzeeq said. “The team won a bronze medal. The Palestinian team also won prizes when I was part of the jury in Egypt in the Arab Club Championship and the West Asian Championship in the Emirates”.
Samir’s son, Adham, already represented Palestine in many international competitions.
He also won a gold medal at the West Asian Championship in Jordan, a bronze medal at the West Asian Championship in Bahrain, and fifth place in the Arab Championship in Jordan in 2019, among others.
“My goal is to represent Palestine in international tournaments so that I can raise my country’s flag at international forums,” Adham told The Palestine Chronicle. “Palestinian athletes have to face many challenges, due to the Israeli occupation: our freedom of movement is restricted and we cannot always afford the high cost of training.”
Despite all of this, these athletes seem determined to challenge the restrictions imposed by the occupation to represent Palestine at international tournaments and competitions.
“I did not stop training and competing, even during the latest Israeli military aggression on Gaza,” Adham says. “I also managed to take part in several local championships.”
(All Photos: Mahmoud Ajjour, The Palestine Chronicle)
(Edited by Romana Rubeo and Mohamed Rakif Mhawesh)