Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Around the World: Libya

Around the World will be an occasional series celebrating the female bodybuilders of a particular country, and examining any issues peculiar to muscle women there.

Today, the "only Female Bodybuilder in Libya".

Libya's "only Female Bodybuilder", is, according to Africa's Independent News Online, "an observant Muslim who wears the headscarf". So don't expect any muscles today.

Still with us? Good! Let's find out a little more...

The woman in the gym in the headscarf is the 48-year-old Fathia Al-Amamy from Benghazi, and she's Libya's first ever national Female Bodybuilding champion.

Presumably, given she "the only", she competed for that title in a field of one, and her one previous stage experience, the "Eastern Region Championships" in 2012, was the same. But field of one or not, her national champion status qualifies her for international competition, and the recent spate of media reports about her have all been focused on her need for funding in order to represent her country abroad, specifically at "an international contest" in Minsk, Belarus in July.

Two things most strike me when watching Fathia in action in this Euronews report.

1. Those are not heavy weights and that is not great form. And 2. Judging by the only thing we've got to go on - her face - she looks pretty good for a 48-year-old.

One wonders how she competes at all, given the headscarf. In all seriousness, female only judges in a private room would seem to be about right, but hardly likely.

Quite honestly, I haven't been able to find any confirmation at all of an international bodybuilding contest in Belarus in July, IFBB or otherwise, but if this story is legit, and if Fathia becomes the first Libyan woman to compete abroad, then we can only hope she will inspire many more Muslim women, in Libya and elsewhere, to follow her.

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