STORY HIGHLIGHTS


First palestinian qualifies for crossfit open

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Added On April 17, 2018

A young athlete from Ramallah has become the first Palestinian to qualify for the CrossFit regional competition.
 
Lifestyles picks up the story. 
 
CrossFit is a mix of Olympic weightlifting, gymnastics and body weight movements. It's all performed at high intensity, often in hour long group classes.
 
In the annual CrossFit Open competition, 29 year old Basel Qatamesh came 14th out of over 35,000 athletes across the region. 
 
That was enough to qualify him for the next level against international athletes. 
 
While surprised, Qatamesh says the result comes after years of work.
 
After getting a Masters in sports therapy in the UK, Qatamesh came back to open his own certified CrossFit affiliate gym Pal-Fit in Palestine in late 2014.
 
Today over 300 men and women train there, and it has become the home of CrossFit in Palestine.
 
SOUNDBITE: BASEL QATAMESH, CrossFit head coach at Pal-Fit
"I have been practicing this sport for seven years, before that, I had practiced other sports before, but in the past seven years, I have been focused on CrossFit only. What I discovered is that it's true that this sport has a physical impact, where it strengthens the muscles, the respiratory system, flexibility and the fitness in general, but also that this fitness and flexibility has a significant psychological impact on the individual and his life."
 
As the head coach, Qatamesh is described by members of the CrossFit community in the West Bank, as "motivated", "inspiring" and "a tough athlete". 
 
He is widely popular, helping many others discover the joys of Crossfit.
 
SOUNDBITE: JANA AL-KISWANI, CrossFit Trainee at Pal-Fit
"This has made my life healthier, my whole life style has turned into a healthy one, it got me rid of 18 kilograms and gain muscles, and has made me come to the gym everyday with motivation for competition, with the urge to lift more weights and challenge myself."
 
SOUNDBITE: FADI ABU NI'MEH, CrossFit Trainee at Pal-Fit
"I used to be reluctant to go to a gym and train on my own, but in CrossFit, you see the communal work and most importantly you see your coaches training in front of you, which gives you confidence"
 
For Qatermesh, the last few years has been a steep rise - from ranked 16,283 in the world - to 631st and still climbing.
 
Thanks to his gym, other Palestinians are able to join him on the journey too.