After winning three gold medals in the 96-kg category at the African Weightlifting Championships, Abu Zeriba was able to fend off competition from Ghana, Algeria and Botswana to qualify for the Tokyo 2021 Olympics.
Now, he aims for more.
“My future ambition is to break African records, that is the first step, then the second step is to win an world championship, and the third step is to get a good ranking at the Olympics,” Ahmed Abu Zeriba says.
Alongside his teammates, the 21-year-old champion has had a hard time training throughout the Covid 19 pandemic.
He also struggled to cope with the harsh economic conditions, as a result of years of civil war since the fall of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
“As for the difficulties that I faced recently is the coronavirus pandemic. And the other difficulty is my inability to reconcile between study, exercise and work, because as you know, as a young man, I need money so that I can go out with my friends, these are the difficulties that I face,” explains the Libyan weightlifting champion.
Khalil Ali, Libya’s weightlifting national team coach, has been following Abu Zeriba’s career, who has never missed a training session in this Misrata gym.
“The champ, Ahmed Abu Zeriba, started in 2013. When Ahmed came to us, I knew that he was an excellent athleter, that stood out in terms of strength, he learned the kinetic technique quickly. In the first Libyan championship he participated in he got first place in the junior category. And he was regular in training,” recalls Khalil Ali.
A medal at the Olympics would be the ultimate reward, for this young athlete who started his career just 8 years ago.