The 2016 Rio Olympic Games saw fourteen Muslim women celebrate their victories and earn themselves medals for their events. This year’s games was also “the birthplace for many firsts.”
Simone Manuel is the first black women to take the Olympic gold for an individual swimming event, and Puerto Rico’s Monica Puig became the first woman from her country to take home a gold medal in a singles tennis event. Brianna Rollins, Nia Ali, and Kristi Castlin made history by taking the first, second and third position for Muslim women in the women’s 100-meter hurdle race.
Coverage of the 2016 Olympics tended to show Muslim women who wore the hijab as being a “symbol of oppression” or giving poor athletic performances, which is not the case at all.
This year fourteen Muslim women proudly claimed victories, and we take a look at their remarkable achievements.
Dalilah Muhammad, USA: Muhammad took part in the track and field event and is now the first American women to win first place in the 400-meter hurdle race.
Majlinda Kelmendi, Kosovo: Kelmendi is the first athlete ever to take an Olympic medal home to Kosovo. The 25-year-old athlete won the gold in her judo event, a first for Kosovo.
Aliya Mustafina, Russia: The young Russian won three medals in Rio. She took the gold in the women’s uneven bars, a silver medal in the ‘all-round’ team event, and she won herself a bronze for the individual ‘all-round’ event.
Mariya Stadnik, Azerbaijan: Stadnik competed in the women’s freestyle wrestling, for which she earned a silver medal in the forty-eight-kilogram weight class.
Zhazira Zhapparkul, Kazakhstan: Zhapparkul earned a silver medal in the sixty-nine-kilogram weight division in the women’s weightlifting Olympic competition.
Sri Wahyuni Agustiani, Indonesia: Another silver win in the weightlifting event went to Agustiani for her performance in the forty-eight-kilogram class.
Ibtihaj Muhammad, USA: Muhammad took the bronze in the fencing event and is the first American woman to compete at the Olympic Games wearing her hijab.
Sara Ahmed, Egypt: Ahmed was the first ever Egyptian women to win an Olympic medal which she earned in the sixty-nine-kilogram class of the weightlifting event.
Kimia Alizadeh Zenoorin, Iran: Zenoorin took a bronze medal in the women’s taekwondo fifty-seven-kilogram weight class event. She made history as the first Iranian woman to win an Olympic medal.
Hedaya Wahba, Egypt: Wahba won a bronze medal in the women’s taekwondo fifty-seven-kilogram event.
Patimat Abakarova, Azerbaijan: Abakarova took home a bronze medal in the forty-nine-kilogram taekwondo weight division.
Ines Boubakri, Tunisia: Boubraki took the bronze in the women’s fencing event, the first women from an African nation to claim this victory.
Marwa Amri, Tunisia: This year, Amri celebrated as the first Tunisian woman to take home an Olympic medal for wrestling. She came third in the fifty-eight-kilogram weight division.
Nur Tatar, Turkey: Tatar earned a bronze medal this year in the taekwondo sixty-seven weight division.