Ghada Shouaa

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Ghada Shouaa (born September 10, 1972) is a former Syrian heptathlete. At the 1996 Summer Olympics, she won her country's first - and as of 2004 only - Olympic gold medal.

Born in Mahrda, Shouaa's first sport was basketball. 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. 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 didn't come until 1995, when she won the important heptathlon meet in Götzis, scoring 6715 points. This bombarded her to one of the favourites for the title at the 1995 World Championships, held in Gothenburg. After co-favourite Sabine Braun abandoned with an injury, Shouaa won the title with a comfortable margin.

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.

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. Shouaa attempted to defend her Olympic title in Sydney, but she again became injured and did not even finish the first event. After this deception, she decided to retire from athletics.

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