Champion weightlifter Koha quits sports career

Latvian champion weightlifter Rebeka Koha, who recently announced her conversion to Islam, announced Wednesday that she is ending her athletic career, the Latvian Olympic Committee (LOK) said August 5.

Chair of Latvian Olympic Association (LOV) Einars Fogelis was quoted on Twitter saying: "Respecting Rebeka's choice and expressing gratitude for her work, we have agreed to receive a written form until 01.09 for leaving the LOV and stopping the financing."

 

Koha's coach Viktors Ščerbatihs said he thought the decision was for the best, although it had come as a shock. The athlete had been experiencing knee pain, he said.

Coach Eduards Andruškevičs said the decision might have to do with the postponed Tokyo Olympics.

LSM reported at the end of July that Koha had recently converted to Islamic faith.

At the time, Koha's coach Eduards Andruškevičs told the LETA news agency that professing the Islamic faith need not interfere with the athlete's future career, and that he was more concerned about the health of her knees, which have been under strain due to the heavy loads exerted upon them by the sport.

Last year, Koha convincingly defended the title of European champion, and she has two bronze medals from the 2017 and 2018 world championships in her trophy cabinet. Koha has been nominated for the Best Athlete of the Year award in Latvia several times.

 

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