The 22-year-old Palestinian swimmer is set to show the world how strongly they are resisting the oppression by competing at the Rio Olympics. Showing their existence by participating in this event will show how much courage they have. She is set to inspire the world as an example of how you can still make your way to the Olympics without proper facilities.
Mary Al Atrash is from Beit Sahour in the West Bank, which is part of Palestine’s largest delegation in the Olympic Games. She will be competing in the 50 meters freestyle, though her training has been complicated due to not having an Olympic-size pool to train in, because Israel occupation restricts her to travel to Jerusalem without training partners.
However, the new generation of Palestine athletes is rising. Thanks to the work of sports federations as well as the Palestine Olympic Committee. Her coach, Mousa Nawawreh hopes that, by them competing in Olympic Games, more Palestinians will be motivated to compete. Nawawreh said that it’s important for Palestinians to compete in the Olympics. “Our presence in any international event is important because it shows our ambition. It shows our strong will,” Nawawreh said.
Mary is really proud to march in Rio as a Palestinian athlete. For the Palestinian Olympians, telling the story of their people and the goal of achieving their own state is even more important than the medal count. They expect people in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to tune in to the Olympic broadcasts and cheer when the Palestinian team enters the stadium during the opening ceremony.
We are wishing the Palestinian athletes the best of luck!