Bronze for hijab-wearing US fencer Ibtihaj Mohammad

Published August 14, 2016
Ibtihaj Mohammad of USA celebrates winning the bronze medal. — Reuters
Ibtihaj Mohammad of USA celebrates winning the bronze medal. — Reuters

RIO: Fencer Ibtihaj Mohammad came to the Rio Games determined to show the world that Muslim-American women could compete in elite sports.

And the 30-year-old from New Jersey, the first US Olympian to wear a hijab during competition, came away with a bronze medal on Saturday in the women's team sabre event.

The four-woman US team – which also included double Olympic champion Dagmara Wozniak, Mariel Zagunis and Monica Aksamit – beat Italy 45-30 to seal third place and the first women's medal in fencing for the Americans in Rio.

“This has been a long journey for us,” said Ibtihaj. “This is six years in the making. I'll never forget this moment.

“We've worked so hard for this, and to be able to compete at the level that we've worked towards, on the world's biggest stage at the Olympic Games, is truly a blessing for us.”

Ibtihaj, who runs her own fashion shop which specialises in women's clothing, has in recent years been involved in a US government-backed programme to empower women and girls through sport.

Team-mate Wozniak, who had dyed her hair purple, said: “This is sport. It doesn't matter what hair colour you have, what religion you are.

“The point is to go out there and be the best athlete you can be, and I think we're the best explanation of what America is, a mix of so many different cultures and races and everything all together.”

Zagunis claimed her fourth Olympic medal, and second in bronze after 2008 with the US team. The 31-year-old was also individual sabre champion in Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008.

The US came back after a 45-42 semi-final loss to world champions Russia, who continued their domination of the event by claiming a first Olympic title in Rio, beating the Ukraine 45-30 in the final.

It was a double gold for Russia's Yana Egorian, who won the women's individual title last week, ahead of team-mate Sofiya Velikaya.

Opinion

Editorial

Another lynching
Updated 22 Jun, 2024

Another lynching

The chilling alternative to not doing anything — which appears to be the state’s preferred option — is the advent of mob rule.
Tax & representation
22 Jun, 2024

Tax & representation

THE taxation measures outlined in the budget for the incoming fiscal year have triggered a lot of concern among ...
Life of the party?
22 Jun, 2024

Life of the party?

THE launch of Awaam Pakistan, a party led by former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and former finance minister...
KP’s ‘power struggle’
Updated 21 Jun, 2024

KP’s ‘power struggle’

Instead of emboldening protesters, CM Gandapur should encourage his provincial subjects to clear their due bills and ensure theft is minimised.
Journalist’s murder
21 Jun, 2024

Journalist’s murder

ANOTHER name has been added to the list of journalists murdered in Pakistan. On Tuesday, Khalil Jibran’s vehicle...
A leaner government?
21 Jun, 2024

A leaner government?

FINANCE Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb has reiterated his government’s ‘commitment’ to shutting down ministries...