To this day, it has been since 1996 since Palestine’s largest team has participated in the Olympics. Amidst the political turmoil, unrest, and upheaval occurring, it is about time that Palestine gets full representation in the Olympics for all of the conflict with Israel’s war on Gaza Strip on the West Coast.
Friday, August 5, Palestinian athletes began to compete in the Olympics this year wearing traditional embroidered dresses and kaffiyeh scarves, while waving the Palestinian flag. It is worth noting that no single athlete has yet won an Olympic medal, at times due to the lack of resources available in their native country and the amount of facilities given to them, while addressing the travel restrictions established by Israel’s rules and regulations.
The Palestinian Olympic team in 2016 consists of:
Mayada al-Sayed – Women’s marathon
Mary al-Atrash – Swimming – Women’s 50m freestyle
Ahmed Gebrel – Swimming – Men’s 200m freestyle
Mohammed Abukhousa – Track and Field – Men’s 100m
Simon Yacoub – Judo – Men’s 60 kg
Christian Zimmermann – Equestrian
At the moment, six Palestinians are competing against all the odds to bring home the gold medal, although Mary al-Atrash, one of the runner up swimmers, begs to differ,
“It’s difficult because of the lack of resources for us here. It will be very difficult to win a medal,” Atrash said.”
Clean water as among travel limitations are both factors which come into play in which athletes are challenged to keep practicing, while leveling their game up for the Rio Games 2016.
“Because of all the difficulties that Palestinians live under, it makes it harder to practice and compete in our sports.” Atrash said.
Arguably, it is also understood by many that Palestine’s representation in the Olympics is not to just win gold medals to showcase achievements, but also to show how one day they lived in a world in which Palestine is a recognized state and will one day be free among all and every odds.
Palestinian Sports Journalist Umar Hammad states, “To tell the world our story through sports, to tell the world our culture, our daily life.” “There is a lot of pride in our team…not to win medals, but to represent the Palestinian people.”
In the future for Rio and many Olympian games for Palestine, seeing as Palestine is being presented now after 1996, now there will hopefully be much more accurate representation and standing with the near upcoming challenges and battles to be won and conquered. Not only will there hopefully be more representation in the future for the beloved country, but there will be more people to represent the beautiful nation of Palestine as well.