CrossFit In Palestine – Interview with Regionals Athlete Basel Qatamesh

Meet Basel Quatamesh, the fittest man in Palestine. 

Hey Basel Qatamesh, can you give us a brief introduction about yourself?

I am 29 years old, owner and head coach of Crossfit Ramallah, the first and only CrossFit affiliate in Palestine. I finished my BA in physical education from The University of Jordan in Amman and my Master’s degree in Sports Therapy from Leeds Becket University in the UK.

I boxed for the University of Jordan the entire 4 years of BA and 1 year for the national Palestinian boxing team. As a kid, I practiced swimming and Folklore dancing.

How did you get into CrossFit?

It was immediately after finishing my bachelor’s degree; I was working as a personal trainer and a trainer at local gyms. My training methods were all based on my experience and knowledge that I built over the years of study in the university; I constantly looked for different methods to train my clients and myself.

Functional training was always my selection type of training, I randomly found The CrossFit journal website when I was hunting for functional training articles, and it all began from that point.

In 2012, I moved to Leeds for MA and signed up at CrossFit Leeds, after few months I got obsessed with the sport, gained my L1 trainer Certificate and starting coaching at CF Leeds.

Tell us about more about CrossFit Ramallah in Palestine? How did it all start for your Box?

Pal-Fit CrossFit Ramallah is a dream that came to reality with the help and support of family and friends. On my last day in CrossFit Leeds, my original coach Mike Rawlinson emphasised that I have to follow my dream and open my own box in Palestine.

Once I was back home to Ramallah the hunt started to find the right place, we eventually decided to renovate an old dumbed family house. The house was abandoned for 30 years; we turned it into a Box. It took a lot of effort and sources to get it done, but we made it happen.

How would you describe the CrossFit scene in Palestine?

Growing. We are the only CrossFit affiliate in Palestine; our member status is growing at a blistering pace, ages range from kids 7 years old to masters 70+ years old. Our number one priority is to develop a healthy community that can transfer their experiences inside the gym to the outside world. W encourage members to help other family members and friends and encourage a healthy life style that includes some sort of fitness (and eventually joining the Crossfit community).

How do you think the Palestinian CrossFit scene will develop?

The only way to develop is by working on the same level of operation. This demands that the individuals that obtain the Crossfit level 1 trainer course must stop providing the Crossfit methodology at regular non-affiliated gyms. Opening new affiliates in Ramallah or even in Palestine is crucial for the development of the Crossfit community.  

“لموهبة الرياضية تكتشف عند الصغر… زيد مش بس موهوب بس كمان عنده المقدرة يعلّم نفسه مهارات تصعب على الكبار… لفتة صغيرة زي هاي من ولد شقي وذكي قيمتها كبيرة وتأثيرها أقوى… الدافع بزيد والمسؤولية بتزيد معه…”

“Zeid is not an ordinary kid… he’s smart, talented and has the ability to learn movements that grownups find challenging… this handmade gift is absolutely valuable.. thanks zeid for the motivation ????”


What did it feel like to represent your country out on the competition floor in Madrid?

Regionals was awesome. It felt empowering. Throughout the entire 3 days of competition I kept reminding myself that whatever happens the members of the gym, family, friends, coach and my wife is there to support and hold me together. On the last event I won my heat, I felt that I had made my country proud and every second of training was worth it for that feeling alone. 

How different is it practicing the workouts in the Box before you try them out at Regionals?

Very different. The level of focus that needs to be developed on the competition floor is incomparable to training. There is so much to consider. It was a great experience and I definitely learned from my mistakes.

What was your biggest lesson from Regionals this year?

Mentality is everything on the competition floor. 

Which workout did you enjoy the most and why?

The M.U / HS walk / Pistols, it was something completely new for me, the challenge of falling and getting up to try again.


Do you follow a specific program with your own training? Or do you do your own programming?

I am working with a tailor-made program from my coach Sam Henderson.

If you could program one workout to suit your own skills, what would it be and why?

Long gymnastics chippers with one weightlifting element and one monostructural element.

  • 10 rounds of:
  • 3 strict muscle ups
  • 6 strict hspu
  • 8 box jump over
  • 10 hang power cleans
  • 400 m run 

What is your favourite quote?

“He who does fear to climb mountains will forever live among the hollows” Abu Al-Qasim Al-Shabbi.

What 3 tips would you offer to Crossfitters that want to improve their conditioning for Metcons:

  1. Establish a good base first, like being able to run, swim, bike, row for 40-60 min at a moderate to low pace while focusing on breathing and good body mechanics
  2. In any workout, always have purpose or a target
  3. Incorporate positive recovery methods, for example to bike or row at a slow pace trying to bring the heart rate down slowly.

Thanks for your time Basel Qatamesh.

Social media links for Basel Qatamesh:

Insta: Basel Qatamesh

Fb: Basel Qatamesh

Insta: CrossFit Ramallah

Fb: CrossFit Ramallah

CrossFit Ramallah website

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