Mahassen Hala Fattouh Paiva
Hala is a full-time athlete training out of Beaufort, South Carolina and Beirut, Lebanon. She began her weightlifting career at the request of her drafting teacher and future highschool weightlifting coach Thomas Bennett. Under his coaching, she won the FHSAA Florida State championship and later multiple awards and championships as a Junior in Olympic Weightlifting.
In 2014, Hala’s husband Ryan, and his cousin Charles Paiva began coaching her. For three years they worked together preparing for the highest levels of competition in this sport. With them she broke ground by becoming the first woman to represent Lebanon internationally in the sport of Olympic Weightlfiting in 2014 at the IWF World Championships, and the first woman to earn IWF Olympic Qualification Points for Lebanon at the 2015 IWF World Championships held in Houston, USA.
Today, Hala is coached by her husband Ryan, Ray Jones, Hassenen Moukalled, and Souheil Kaissi. She is working towards the goal of becoming the first female weightlifter to represent Lebanon at the Olympic Games in 2020. Making history for the women of Lebanon, competing at the highest levels of her sport, and representing her and her father’s heritage is her dream.
2017 63kg Team Lebanon Member IWF World Championship held in Anaheim, USA, 10th place finish
2016 63kg Team Lebanon Member Asian Championships held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan
2015 63kg Team Lebanon Member IWF World Championships held in Houston, USA
2014 63kg Team Lebanon Member IWF World Championships held in Almaty, Kazakhstan
2014 63kg USA Senior National Clean and Jerk Silver Medalist
2013 58kg USA University Nationals Champion
2012 63kg USA Senior National Clean and Jerk Bronze Medalist
2011 63kg USA University Nationals Silver Medalist
2010 63kg American Open Bronze Medalist
2008 63kg USA Junior National Champion
2007 58kg USA Senior National Bronze Medalist
2007 63kg USA Junior National Bronze Medalist
2006 63kg Team USA Member, Pan American Sub 17 Championships in Guayaquil, Ecuador Clean and Jerk Bronze Medalist
2006 58kg USA Schoolage National Clean and Jerk 3rd Place
2006 58kg USA Junior National Bronze Medalist
2006 129lb FHSAA State Champion
Southeast Class 63kg Senior Clean and Jerk, Snatch, and Total Record Holder 2015-Current
USAW Florida State 63kg Senior Clean and Jerk Record Holder 2014
USAW Florida State 69kg Senior Clean and Jerk, and Total Record Holder 2015-Current
FHSAA 129lb 5-Star Conference Clean and Jerk Record Holder 2006-2014
Spruce Creek High School 129lb Clean and Jerk Record Holder 2006-2014
Spruce Creek High School 139lb Clean and Jerk Record Holder 2006-Current
Spruce Creek High School 139lb Total Record Holder 2006-2012
Personal Coach: Rayford Jones
Ray has been involved in competitive weightlifting for over 30 years, and began coaching Hala in September of 2017. He constructs all of her workout programming and coaches her daily at CrossFit Beaufort in South Carolina. Throughout Ray’s career he has coached multiple international level athletes, who have achieved many IWF Pan American and World Championship Youth and Junior Medals, and IWF World Records.
Head Coach: Ryan Paiva
Ryan is Hala’s husband and assistant/competition coach, and lives with her at their home in Port Orange, Florida. He had a successful weightlifting career as a junior which included winning the Junior National Championships, competing internationally for Team USA, and training at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. He runs a web-development firm full-time and lifts with Hala in the afternoons during the week.
2006 56kg USA Senior National Snatch Silver Medalist
2006 56kg Team USA Member at Junior Pan American Games in Cali, Columbia
2006 56kg USA Junior National Champion
2005 56kg American Open Champion
2005 56kg USA Junior National 2nd Place
2005 56kg USA Senior National 3rd Place
2005 119lb FHSAA State Champion
Florida State 56kg Junior Snatch Record Holder 2006-Current
Deland High School 129 Bench, Clean and Jerk, and Total Record Holder 2005-Current
Deland High School 119 Bench, Clean and Jerk, and Total Record Holder 2005-Current
Coach: Charles Paiva
Charles has been involved in competitive weightlifting for over 20 years, and began coaching Hala in April of 2014. With him she represented Lebanon at the 2014 IWF World Championships in Almaty, Kazakhstan, the 2015 IWF World Championships in Houston, USA, and the 2016 Asian Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
Charles works as a full time physical therapy assistant and City Commissioner in DeLand, Florida. He is Ryan Paiva’s cousin and former head coach, and has coached both Deland High School and Winter Springs High School to win the FHSAA State Championships.
Charles’s own weightlifting career included multiple Junior and Senior national championships, competing for Team USA internationally, training at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, and making Team USA for the 1996 Olympics as an alternate.
1999 69kg USA Senior National Champion
1998 69kh American Open Champion
1998 69kg USA Senior National Champion
1997 70kg World Team Tryouts Champion
1997 70kg USA Senior National 2nd Place
1996 64kg USA Olympic Trials 2nd Place
1996 64kg USA Senior Nationals 2nd Place
1995 64kg American Open Champion
1995 70kg USA Junior National Champion
1994 70kg American Open Champion
1993 70kg USA Junior Nationals Clean and Jerk Bronze Medalist
1993 70kg American Open CJ Bronze Medalist
1993 148lb FHSAA State Champion
USA National 64kg Junior Snatch and Total Records 1995-1997
Florida State 69kg Senior Snatch, Clean and Jerk, and Total Records Holder 1998-Current
Florida State 77kg Senior Clean and Jerk and Total Records Holder 1999-Current
FHSAA State 148lb Clean and Jerk Record Holder 1993
Deltona High School 148lb Bench, Clean and Jerk, and Total Record Holder 1993-Current
Developmental Coach: Thomas Bennett
Thomas was Hala’s first coach and was instrumental in her development as a high school and junior lifter. Thomas is the former weightlifting coach at Spruce Creek High School and coach Team Florida Volusia County, Hala’s former team. In addition to his own successful junior and collegiate weightlifting career, Thomas has lead his high school and junior teams to win multiple FHSAA State Championships, served as vice president for the Florida Weightlifting Federation, coached for Team USA internationally, and has coached multiple individual state, youth, and junior national champion weightlifters.
2001 Olympic Festival (Mexico City, Mexico) 105+ Medalist
2001 USA National u23/ Collegiate Championships 105+ Silver medalist
1998 USA Junior Nationals 105kg Champion
1997 219lb FHSAA State Champion
Spruce Creek High School 219lb, Clean and Jerk Record Holder 1997 – Current