26 Egyptian Women Athletes head for Beijing 2008 Olympics
Overcoming cultural, financial and religious obstacles, 26 women athletes from Egypt qualified and headed for the Beijing 2008 Olympics.
Twenty-six Egyptian women are now preparing for this August’s Beijing Olympics, including the country’s first female wrestler and a team of nine synchronized swimmers. There are high hopes for modern pentathlon athlete Aya Madani, who at 16, was the youngest athlete in history to participate in this event at the Olympic level during the 2004 Athens games.
“I know that dressing this way is wrong, but this is my sport and I love it. I cannot argue with religion, but this is out of my hands. Yes, I am a Muslim but I am not doing anything wrong. I am doing something I love,” Hayat Farag, Olympic wrestler, says. “After I am done with the Olympics, I’m hoping to be able to go for ‘Umrah (lesser pilgrimage). After that I will leave the sport.”
These brave young women face amazing obstacles, prejudice, harrassment and restrictions to train and compete.