Meet 14 Muslim/Arab Women Who Break Barriers at 2016 Rio Olympics

Sports has not been exactly known to be an arena that the Arab world, let alone the Islamic world, encourages women to enter. Well, this year that is no longer the case! You’d be surprised at the number of Arab women who competed at the 2016 Rio Olympics (36 of them alone are Egyptians!). Here we recognize 14 Arab/Muslim women of the many amazing women athletes who took home medals. According to Tribune, these 14 women broke social and cultural barriers and stereotypes of the Arab world, making us proud!

  1. Dalilah Muhammad, USA, athletics (Gold): This amazing Muslim woman from Queens, NY  led from start to finish to take the Olympic gold medal in the 400 meters hurdles.
  2. Sara Ahmed, Egypt, weightlifting (Bronze): Sara became the first Arab woman to win an Olympic weightlifting medal.
  3. Ibtihaj Muhammad, USA, fencing (Bronze): Ibtihaj did not let her hijab be a barrier for her fencing and she won a bronze medal in the team sabre event.
  4. Kimia Alizadeh Zenoorin, Iran, taekwondo (Bronze): Alizadeh won a bronze medal, making the 18-year-old the first Iranian woman to win an Olympic medal.
  5. Sri Wahyuni Agustiani, Indonesia, weightlifting (Silver): Competing in the women’s 48kg weightlifting competition, this 22 year old won a silver medal for her nation.
  6. Zhazira Zhapparkul, Kazakhstan, weightlifting (Silver): In the women’s 69kg final event, 22 year-old Zhazira picked up a silver medal.
  7. Maria Stadnik, Azerbaijan, wrestling (Silver): In the women’s freestyle 48 kg event, this strong woman won her nation a silver medal.
  8. Hedaya Wahba, Egypt, taekwondo (Bronze): Wahba, 23, won Egypt’s third medal of the Games, only the second-ever won by an Egyptian woman!
  9. Ines Boubakri, Tunisia, fencing (Bronze): Tunisia’s bronze medallist dedicated her individual foil award to Arab women.
  10. Nada Al Bedwawi: UAE’s first female swimmer at the Olympics and she was even chosen as the nation’s flag-bearer in the opening ceremony.
  11. Nada Meawad and Doaa Elghobashy, beach volleyball: These two made history as the first female beach volleyball pair from Egypt.
  12. Marwa Amri, Tunisia, wrestling (Bronze): Marwa won the bronze medal in under-58 kg women’s wrestling for Tunisia.
  13. Nur Tatar, Turkey, taekwondo (Bronze): Nur won the Women’s Taekwondo -67kg Bronze Medal Contests.
  14. Yusra Mardini, Syria: 18-year-old Syrian refugee who won her 50m butterfly heat.
    2016 Rio Olympics

These women pave the way for many Muslim women in the world, and prove to the international audience that faith, gender and ethnicity should not be a reason to not achieve you wildest dreams!

Don’t forget to leave a smile 🙂

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Israa Elkhatib

I was born in Palestine but raised with the fireflies in Georgia. My teenage years were spent being the Muslim nerd who was known as the bookworm of the school. That followed me back to Palestine, to develop into being the girl with the big vocabulary. I spent most of my high-school days cursing Newton for not eating that apple. My English Literature Bachelor's degree was only obtained because I'm a nerd for literature and my minor in Translation pretty much pays the bills, thank you Birzeit University.Creative writing is my passion and reading is my escape from reality into a world where everything is the way you imagine it to be.

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