Saturday, April 4, 2015

Weightlifting in Palestine

Issam Khalidi

    In late 1930’ and 1940’s, Palestine witnessed a growth in boxing, wrestling and weightlifting.   A prominent wrestler appeared on the arena, he was known as “Blado”, his real name was Vladimir Djuric. In October 1937, Arab Sports Club in Jaffa organized a championship in weightlifting at the arena of Cinema Appolo where Blado became the champion of Palestine , Syria and Lebanon in light weight . [1]
In November 1937, Arab Workers Union AWU in Haifa organized sports meetings in boxing, wrestling and weightlifting where few clubs in Haifa took part: AWU, Islamic SC, Shabab al-Arab, Orthodox Club and Urooba Club. [2]  

 In 1943, Palestine Weightlifting Association PWA was founded. In May 1944, it organized its first tournament under the auspices of Jaffa’s Mayor Omar al-Bitar on the stage of Cinema al-Farouq. Ali Hatariyyeh from Nadi al-Rabita al-Islamiyyah won the featherweight. Issa Tams from Society of Orthodox Scouts won the lightweight. Subhi Mikhail from Dar al-Aitam Assuriyyeh (Syrian Orphnage) won medium weight. Darwish Katbeh from Kawmi Sports Club) formerly called and later Islamic SC) won the light heavyweight. Ali Talaba from the Institute of Physical Education won the heavyweight. The referee committee was combined of Dr. Haqqi Mazin, Dr. Muhammad Shukri, Vladimir Djuric.[3]

After the re-establishment of the Palestine Sports Federation PSF in 1944, amateur boxing, weightlifting and wrestling emerged in one committee al-Lajna al-Amma lil-Musara’ wa Raf’ al-Athqal. Palestinian weightlifters intensified their competitions with Egyptian weightlifters. In March 1945, this committee organized a championship in wrestling and weightlifting. And in August 1945, it organized a competition in weightlifting at the stage of Cinema al-Hamra under the auspices of Omar al-Bitar. Egyptian weightlifters such as Mukhtar Hussein (international champion) Ahmad Jeisa, Khader al-Tuni (Olympic champion, 1936-gold medalist) took part. Among Palestinian weightlifters were Ali Talaba, Adib al-Hashash, Ahmad Shleibi, Darwish Katbeh and Abdel Hajj Abdel Malek. In July 1946, a show in weightlifting was held in al-Ma’had al-Riyadi al-Arabi in Jaffa, where its members took part: Hasan Nouri, Ali Abu Oka and Rashid al-Yasir.

In September 1947, Difa' stated that Palestine Sports Federation received a letter from the international Egyptian referee Muhammad Naseer who agreed to visit Palestine to arbitrate a competition in weightlifting to determine the champion of Palestine in all weights. However, it's not known if this competition was held due to the escalation of political conditions at that time.[4]

    In 1950’s and 1960’s, Sector Gaza under the Egyptian administration witnessed a noticeable growth in many aspects including sports. This was the reason that sports movement’s center of gravity was shifted to Gaza Sector after 1948.Compared to other Arab countries, Egypt had the prominent athletic prestige. The Egyptian administration established the “Regional Council for Youth Care,” in Gaza Sector which was headed by the General Governor, and included 25 members, most of whom were sports leaders and heads of sports federations (football, volleyball, basketball, handball, table tennis, track and field, weightlifting and wrestling). The Supreme Council of Youth in Cairo supported this regional committee financially and technically.

  At that time, few weightlifters appeared on the scene such as Muhamad Abu Shahla who won the bronze medal at the third Pan Arab Games in Morocco in 1961.[5]
  In 1972, Palestine Weightlifting Federation (PWLF) was established.  In 1974, it became a member of the Arab Federation of Weight lifting AWLF. In 1979 it joined the International Weightlifting Federation, and the Asian Federation in 1982. Since 1975, it took part in Pan Arab Games in Egypt, Tunis, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Algeria and Morocco. Since 1982 it participated in international competitions in Greece, Bulgaria, Poland, Germany, Egypt, Tunis, Algeria and Iraq. PWLF took part as a mediator between the Egyptian Federation and the IWLF in Budapest Hungary in 1993. Few Palestinians became referees and administrators in this sport. As example, Azmi al-Hajjar became an international referee in 1984. Later, he was selected as counselor to the AWF in December 1993. Muhammad Said Hamdan was selected as a member of AWF in April 1993 and Jihad al-Khadra was elected to the technical committee of AWF in April 1993.[6]
  Palestine took part in the Arab Weightlifting Championship in Lebanon in 1995 where 10 Arab countries took part. Also, it took part in Pan Arab Games in Lebanon in 1997, in Jordan 1999 (fifth place), and in 2004, 2007 and 2011.

[1]  Filastin, 31 October 1937. Vladimr Djuric was born in 1913. His mother was Palestinian and his father was from Montenegro. 
[2] Al-Difa, 6 November 1937.
[3] Al-Difa, 30 May, 1944.
[4] Al-Difa' September 12, 1947
[5] Usama, Filfel. Rahala al-Khitiar, Al-A’nqa’ al-Riyadi,
[6] Al-Ittihad al-Falastini li-Raf’ al-Athqal,

1 comment:

  1. Dear Mr. Issam Khalidi,
    My name is Jovo Djuric and I am the son of Vladimir Djuric, the late Champion in light weight lifting of Palestine, and later on the champion of Palestine, Lebanon and Syria. Vladimir Djuric was born in Jaffa on the 25th of February 1913. His mother was from Palestine and his father came from Montenegro
    (ex Yugoslavia).
    He was known as Blado in Jaffa.

    In your article you wrote that Blado (which is Vladimir) challenged Ramez Ahmad – champion of Palestine. At that time Vladimir was already the champion
    of light weight lifting of Palestine. In the year 1937 he attended the tournament in the hall of cinema Apollo and was declared as the champion for light weight lifting for Palestine, Syria and Lebanon.
    Also the referee of the tournament in 1944 was Vladimir Djuric and not Vladimir Jorsh.
    I hope this helps you and if you need further information, please feel free to contact me.
    Have a nice weekend and best regards,
    Jovo Djuric