“Delete photos showing my hair!”: The star who converted to Islam and said goodbye to sports at 22

Rebecca Kocha was Latvia’s big hope for a medal in weightlifting at the 2020 Olympics, but she chose love over sport.

In 2016, she narrowly missed out on bronze in Rio, but everyone in her homeland is convinced that four years later in Tokyo there is nothing to stop her from climbing the ladder of honor.

And Rebecca gives them plenty of reasons to think so, after winning the European title twice and becoming a bronze medalist at the World Championships twice. She trains hard and nothing can stop her from reaching her goal. Nothing. Except for one thing – great love.

The beautiful Latvian athlete has long attracted attention not only with her results. She herself shared in a TV show when she was 19 that she was constantly courted on social networks.

At that time, however, she noted that she was completely focused on sports and did not want to be distracted in her preparations for Tokyo 2020. A year later, however, Rebecca surprised not only her fans, but also the federation.

Nearly three years ago, the coronavirus pandemic gripped the entire world, but many sincerely believed that the Tokyo Olympics would still take place.

In these uncertain times, Rebecca began dating Qatari discus thrower Moaz Mohammed Ibrahim. The lovers do not hide their relationship and exchange love messages on social networks. “You are the best thing that ever happened to me and I love you to no end,” wrote the athlete from the East.

A little later, the two announced that they were married. But then no one yet guessed that Koha was starting a new phase of his life. Expectations are that she will get full support from her husband on the way to the Olympic dream.

In July of the same year, Rebecca removed all her photos from social networks and published new ones in which she posed in a hijab:

“I’ve made a big decision in my life – she reports. – I can only tell you that I’m happy and grateful. I’m sure I did the right thing. The only thing I ask for is respect. If you can’t say anything nice, -well shut up. Today is a special day for me because I became a Muslim and converted to Islam. From this moment, I am sure, a new beautiful chapter will begin in my life. In this regard, I would ask you not to post and distribute my photos, on showing my hair, arms, neck and legs.”

Fans supported Rebecca in her new path and continued to believe that she will defend the Latvian flag at the Tokyo Olympics.

But when it became clear that holding the Games in 2020 was impossible, Rebecca made a decision that shocked everyone.

The head of the Latvian Olympic team, Einar Fogelis, then announced the following: “During a video call, Rebecca informed us that she is ending her sports career. We respect her choice and thank her for the work done. We have agreed to receive a written statement about her withdrawal from the Latvian Olympic team and stop funding it.”

Thus, sporting ambitions gave way to great love. The little-known athlete from Qatar got a loving wife, and the Latvian weightlifting team lost one of its great hopes.


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