About Hala

Mahassen Hala

halaMahassen Hala Fattouh Paiva was born on the 27th of August 1989 to parents Mohammad and Susan. She is their youngest daughter, her older sister is named Soumiah.

Hala is a a full-time athlete in her hometown of Port Orange, Florida, U.S.A., though she holds dual citizenship and lived in Beirut, Lebanon in her youth.

She attended Spruce Creek High School, where she first met her husband Ryan Paiva, and her love of weightlifting began. In 2004, a high school friend, and her drafting teacher Thomas Bennett, who was the assistant weightlifting coach, encouraged her to come out for the girl’s weightlifting team, which competed in bench press and clean and jerk. Shortly after joining the high school team, she began practicing the snatch and chose to join Team Florida (Volusia County). Hala’s progression showed she was a promising talent for the future.

Thomas and Hala continued to work together through her schooling and time in college. Under his coaching, she won the FHSAA Florida State Championship and later became a member of Team USA for the youth Pan American Championship in 2006, earning the number one spot on the team. She is the 2006 63kg Pan American sub 17 Championship clean and jerk bronze medalist, as well as the 2008 U.S. Junior National Champion in the 63kg category.

After a two year hiatus from competitive weightlifting, Hala returned to training in 2010. In 2013 she became the 58kg USA National University Champion.

From 2014 through the Spring of 2017 Hala was coached by her husband Ryan and his cousin Charles Paiva. Under Charles, she became 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.

In the Fall of 2017 Hala and her husband decided to move her training to Beaufort, South Carolina for the opportunity to work with Coach Ray Jones in preparation for the 2017 World Championship, where she finished in the top ten.

Today Hala continues to be coached by Ray Jones in Beaufort and her husband Ryan, and is working towards the goal of becoming the first female weightlifter to compete for her father’s home country of 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.

Competitions:
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 Championships Silver Clean and Jerk
2013 58kg USA University Nationals Champion Clean and Jerk, Total (Silver Snatch)
2012 63kg USA Senior National Championships Bronze Clean and Jerk
2011 63kg USA National Collegiate Championships Silver Clean and Jerk, Total (Bronze Snatch)
2010 63kg American Open Bronze Snatch, Clean and Jerk, Total
2008 63kg USA National Junior Champion Snatch, Clean and Jerk, Total
2007 58kg USA Senior National Championships Bronze Clean and Jerk, Total
2007 63kg USA National Junior Championships Bronze Snatch, Clean and Jerk, Total
2006 63kg Team USA Member, Pan American Sub 17 Championships Guayaquil, Ecuador Bronze Clean and Jerk
2006 58kg USA National Schoolage Championships 3rd Place Clean and Jerk
2006 58kg USA National Junior Championships Bronze Total
2006 129lb FHSAA State Champion

Records:
Florida State 63kg Senior Snatch, Clean and Jerk, and Total Record Holder 2018
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 2006-2017
Spruce Creek High School 139lb Total Record Holder 2006-2012