After four long years, the Olympics are finally back. It’s an event many of us have waited for and I’m not only talking about passionate sport lovers– even people like me, that have other interests than sports, have been looking forward to this event.
It’s always amusing to know who’s going to be participating. However, this time we have chosen to pay some extra attention to Muslim women who are partaking in the Olympics this year.
SARAH ATTAR Saudi Arabia – Track & Field
She is a 23-year-old young woman who has graduated from school and committed herself to training full-time. Her personal best time in the 800 is two minutes and 40 seconds. Attar is someone who made history four years ago at the Olympics in London. She was the first female athlete to represent Saudi Arabia in the spectacular event.
AISHA AL BALUSHI United Arab Emirates – Weightlifting
Aisha Al Balushi is 24 years old and will represent the United Arab Emirates in Weightlifting at the Olympics. First, the United Arab Emirates qualified Amna Al Haddad for representing the EAE at Rio, but after a recent back injury, Al Balushi has been chosen to replace her. I’m sure she will be a honorable replacement. Al Balushi scored higher marks than Al Haddad at this year’s Asian Championships, so the UAE should not worry about her case.
JESSICA HOUARA-D’HOMMEAUX France – Football
JESSICA HOUARA-D’HOMMEAUX is a 28-year-old midfielder who plays professionally for Paris Saint-Germain in France’s Division 1 Feminine. Her team has won the Coupe de France Feminine and they finished in second place in the UEFA Women’s Champions League. Jessica Houara-D’Hommeaux and her team will be strongly represented at the Olympic games in Brazil.
HABIBA GHRIBI Tunisia – Women’s 3000m steeplechase
Four years ago at the 2012 Olympics, HABIBA GHRIBI crossed the finish line in second place in the womens’ 3,000-meter steeplechase. But after the disqualification of the first-place finisher Yulia Zaripova of Russia because of drugs, Ghribi receives Olympic and world gold medals. This year she will once more represent Tunisia.
IBTIHAJ MUHAMMAD USA – Women’s individual sabre
Most of you know IBTIHAJ MUHAMMAD. But for those who don’t know her, let me introduce you to this talented woman. Muhammad will represent the United States in Fencing at the Olympics. She will make history when she steps into Carioca Arena 3 for her first match. Why? Well, Muhammad will become the first U.S. athlete in any sport to compete in the Olympics while wearing a hijab. She’s an inspiration for many muslim women across the world.
ELIF JALE YESILIRMAK Turkey – Wrestling
In 2012 ELIF JALE YESILIRMAK became the first female wrestler to represent Turkey in the Olympics. She is a two-time bronze medalist in the 58-kilogram (128-pound) women’s freestyle division at the Wrestling World Championships, a two-time bronze medalist at the European Championships, and a gold medalist at the 2013 Mediterranean Championships. Yesilirmak is an extraordinary figure in the growth of women’s wrestling in Turkey.
LEILA RAJABI Iran – Shot put
LEILA RAJABI is better known as the best female shot-putter to represent Iran.She owns the national record in the shot put at 18.18 meters, has won gold medals at the Asian Indoor Games and the Asian Indoor Championships, and also silver at the Asian Games (outdoor) and the Asian Championships. Rajabi is simply a remarkable woman.
I wish all the athletes good luck, and may the best win. Let’s support them all and hope that they will be an inspiration for this generation and the next.