Latvian weightlifting world champion Rebecca Koha has converted to Islam and donned hijab, saying she has started a new chapter in her life.
“Today is a special day for me, because I became a Muslim,” Koha wrote on Instagram on Sunday night.
“At 3:48pm I did the Shahada (which is a declaration of faith aka converting) and entered Islam from here I believe that the new and beautiful chapter of my life can begin.”
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Koha removed all her photos on Instagram, adding only four photos in hijab.
Donning the hijab, the weightlifting champ asked others not to share public photos showing her hair or other parts of the body.
“Thanks to those who supports me and stays with me no matter what! Alhamdulillah, wishing you all the best and God bless all of you,” she added.
Born in 1998, Koha is a two time Junior World Champion and two time European Champion competing in the 58 kg division until 2018 and 59 kg starting in 2018 after the International Weightlifting Federation reorganized the categories.
She also has junior world records in the clean & jerk and total in the 59 kg division.
In 2016 she competed at the 2016 Summer Olympics in the 53 kg division placing fourth overall. She was named Latvian Rising Star of the Year in 2016 after her performance at the 2016 Summer Olympics.