“Sport is not for girls” that’s what some men think. And even if now such thoughts sound like nonsense, 100 years ago even the idea of women in sport was impossible. According to the moral principles of the 19th century only gentlemen were able to go for sports and any women willing to participate in any sporting event were considered to be inappropriate. But as we all know no one can say “No” to women, so beauties managed to break this stereotype in the course of time. Women began to follow up men in the race for titles and records and even mastered karate, boxing, football, wrestling and weightlifting.
Isn’t it a remarkable example of women being able to succeed in traditionally men oriented environment? Right now women take their rightful place in the world of big sport.
Athlete ambassadors of Baku 2017 Islamic Solidarity Games are great examples of women in sport, who, regardless of public opinion, overcame prejudice and broke one of the main stereotypes about women being in sports just for a pretty face.
“I am Marwa Amri from Tunisia; they call me “The queen of Africa”. I have more than 9 African titles; bronze world champion junior; first place in the UWW ranking list 2014; Arab champion and 2 times Mediterranean champion and today I am an Olympic champion. You think everything came at once? No, let me tell you my story.
My sport career started very unexpectedly. I was 10 years old and I just accompanied my friend on her trainings. One day I decided to repeat her movements. I knew that everything I did was unprofessional I was just imitating everything I remembered. To my great fortune I was noticed by a coach. That day he told me that I will have a great future. He was right. "
“At that time, I lost my father. I was still a child and it was a great loss for me because we were very close. It made me weak, exhausted for some time. But then I thought that I can still make him happy by building a successful future. I started to work hard, I tried to not miss my trainings. Even now I feel his support, every time I win I know that he gives me strength to do what I am doing now.”
“When I train or I fight I feel power and strength, I feel that I am the queen of the wrestling mat, I feel so proud of myself, that I am doing something that not everybody can do. Tunisia is the shining star in Africa because of me and there couldn’t be a greater reward for me."
"Women are the power of our world. Of course sometimes we want to feel weak but never forget that women are the power. Dream big, focus on your goals, work hard, and believe that nothing is impossible."
“I was 9 when I first started Taekwondo. I watched my brother Lawrence training and it was so fascinating that I became interested and joined the Al Faris Academy. So that was where it all started for me.”
“I worked really hard on myself. I had been bouncing between Taekwondo trainings, gym and studying. But nevertheless, sport was my passion. That love helped me to achieve all my success. My first achievement was becoming the 2013 Arab Gold medalist, which opened the way to my next achievement - Bronze medal at 2015 Asian Championship, followed by Silver Medal which I won at the Kazakhstan Open Championship 2015. In 2016 I was awarded with the Black Iris award as the best sportswoman in Jordan.”
“Of course my road was not so smooth. There were a lot of times when I wanted to quit sport. I was injured during the 2014 Asian Championship in Indonesia, followed with another injury at the 2016 Asian Taekwondo Championship right before the final match. I remember feeling totally devastated in that moment, as if my whole world crashed in seconds. As a result of these injuries I took some time to recover and was away from Taekwondo. It really was a hard time for me, but with the support of my family I got through it all and became even stronger and ready to fight.”
“Every time I enter tatami I feel like a better person, almost a superhero, full of self-confidence and energy. For me Taekwondo is a way to express myself, express my emotions, feelings and at the same time focus on my ultimate goals such as participating in the Olympics or World Championships.
If you asked me to describe women in one word I would say the future. Women have achieved so much in sports, as gender equality has given more opportunities for more women to show up and compete.
I encourage all women to get into sports as they help to increase self-confidence and relax your brain, and to all the young girls out there who are like me and fell in love with sport - always believe in yourself and remember that one can achieve his goals in sports only with training and discipline.”
“My parents always told me to be strong. They told me follow and reach my dreams, and also to be patient.”
“Sometimes you have to face difficulties in your life. You say “I want to do this sport” and you don’t even think that you will not have appropriate conditions to make your wish happen. This story is not about me.
I always wanted to participate in international championships but of course I needed special preparation for this. When I finally started my trainings before my first international championships it turned out that there was no Olympic size swimming pool in Palestine, moreover our pool was strictly scheduled so I was limited in time. All of that could possibly turn my efforts into nothing. However, that did not stop me from following my dreams; I used to train even harder in order to get myself to the championship and compete with other athletes.
I feel very proud, happy and inspired when I represent my country Palestine in the international championships. I won a lot of medals at local and some Arab Championships. Another of my achievement was representing Palestine on the Olympic Games and improving my personal record."
"The happiest moment for me was participating in the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games, wearing a traditional Palestinian dress and people asking me about it, wanting to take pictures with me. I felt so proud to be there and be able to tell the whole world who we are, to tell the story of Palestine."
"I’m a woman and I believe that we can do something good for the sport world. Our community and families give us an opportunity to achieve our goals. It's so important to have different genders in every kind of sport and every delegation. My advice to women will be to follow your dreams, never give up and don't let anyone take you down, because we can do something for our sport and for our countries."