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Ghada Shouaa

Ghada Shouaa

Medal record
Women's Athletics
Competitor for  Syria
Olympic Games
1996 Atlanta Heptathlon
World Championships
1995 Gothenburg Heptathlon
1999 Seville Heptathlon
Asian Championships
1993 Manila Heptathlon
1991 Kuala Lumpur Heptathlon

Ghada Shouaa (Arabic: غادة شعاع‎; born September 10, 1973) is a retired Syrian heptathlete. At the 1996 Summer Olympics, she won her country's first and only Olympic gold medal.


  • Biography 1
  • See also 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


Born in the small Syrian city of Mhardeh in the Hama Governorate, Shouaa's first sport was basketball.[1] She played on the Syrian national team for a few years, but then decided to compete in athletics. She did her first heptathlon in 1991, and was immediately sent to the 1991 World Championships in Tokyo, where she placed last.[1] She concluded her first athletics season with a silver medal in the Asian championships.

Shouaa debuted at the Olympics in the 1992 Barcelona Games, placing 18th in spite of an injury. Her breakthrough did not come until 1995, when she won the important heptathlon meet in Götzis, scoring 6715 points. This boosted her to one of the favourites for the title at the 1995 World Championships, held in Gothenburg. After co-favorite Sabine Braun dropped out with an injury, Shouaa won the title with a comfortable margin.[1]

The following season, Shouaa again won the Götzis meet, bringing the still-standing Asian record to 6942 points. In Atlanta, three months later, she confirmed her status as the best heptathlete at the time, winning Syria's first Olympic gold medal.[1]

A serious injury ruined the following season, and she was unable to make a serious comeback until 1999, when she placed third at the World Championships behind Eunice Barber.[1] Shouaa attempted to defend her Olympic title in Sydney, but she again became injured and did not even finish the first event.[1] After this disappointment, she decided to retire from athletics.

Shouaa and the Civil War in Syria

During a visit to Syria in 2013 or 2014, Shouaa appeared in a picture with a heavy machine gun while accompanying the National Defence Forces, a branch of Syrian Armed Forces.[2] In a speech, Shouaa greeted the Syrian Arab Army, saying the army's motto 'Homeland, Honor, Honesty' represents "each and every honest Syrian form which he/she draws the ability for steadfastness and making achievements for Syria's sake".[3]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Ghada Shouaa". Retrieved 2007-06-22. 
  2. ^
  3. ^

External links

  • Official website
  • Ghada Shouaa profile at IAAF

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Heike Drechsler
Women's Heptathlon Best Year Performance
Succeeded by
Sabine Braun
Olympic Games
Preceded by
Joseph Atiyeh
Flagbearer for  Syria
Atlanta 1996
Succeeded by
Moutassem Ghotouq
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