London 2012: The real winners

The USA have won the London Olympic Games, with China a close second. But the real winners of the 2012 Olympics aren’t the ones with medals around their necks.

These games were the first that Arab women were allowed to compete. This has set new standard for women’s rights in Arab countries, and gives a promising outlook for the future of those countries.

Women:

Brunei Darussalam

Maziah Mahusin

MAHUSIN Maziah The first female athlete to compete for Brunei.

She ran in the women’s 400m and finished last in her heat with a time of 59.28, just under nine seconds behind the leaders but also setting a new national record.

Qatar

Nada Mohammed W S Arakji

ARAKJI Nada Mohammed W S

A 17-year-old swimmer, and the first female swimmer to compete for Qatar.

She competed in the 50m freestyle, but was by no means the slowest competitor even if she was a good five/six seconds off the qualifying pace, swimming 30.89.

Bahya Mansour Al Hamad

AL HAMAD Bahya Mansour

This 20-year-old competed in two shooting events: the 50m rifle and the 10m air rifle.

She didn’t qualify in either of the competitions for the finals, but it’s another step forward for Arab women’s integration.

Noor Hussain Al-Malki

AL-MALKI Noor Hussain

This lady was the cause of heartbreak for so many people.

The first female track and field competitor ever for Qatar, running in the 100m, but she couldn’t finish as she pulled up with an apparent hamstring injury.

The 17-year-old burst into tears as she was helped off the track.

Aia Mohamed

MOHAMED Aia

The Qatari table-tennis representative didn’t last long against Canada’s Mo Zhang, getting beat comprehensively 11-3 11-7 11-6 11-3.

Saudi Arabia

Sarah Attar

Sarah Attar

Sarah Attar became the first Saudi woman ever to compete in athletics at the Olympics.

She finished last in her heat, and although setting a new national record in the 800m (2:44.95) she was 43 seconds behind the winner of the race.

She got a standing ovation on crossing the finish line, as people realised her achievements.

Wojdan Shaherkani

Wojdan ShaherkaniA lot of controversy surrounded the Saudi Judoka, as there was a threat of withdrawing the 16-year-old because the Olympic committee didn’t want her to wear a headscarf for safety reasons.

Her bout with her Puerto Rican opponent ended in a defeat, which isn’t surprising considering she is only a blue-belt and this is her first competition with a crowd.

Somalia

Zamzam Mohamed Farah

Zamzam Mohamed Farah

Despite her surname, Zamzam couldn’t run like her GB namesake, Mo.

In the women’s 400m she finished a full 30 seconds behind the winner. Despite facing threats from Islamist groups over competing, she rose above it and did herself and her country proud.

Men:

Niger

Hamadou Djibo Issaka

Hamadou Djibo IssakaCapturing the hearts of millions, Hamadou finished dead last in all of his races, minutes behind the leader.

The reason for this? He’d only started rowing three months ago, and did so in a fishing boat. What an achievement to get to the Olympics and have the guts to go all the way and compete in the races, despite knowing you were going to get nothing.

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About Matthew Norman

A Search Manager working in the SEO department with three years of digital marketing experience in Middlesbrough, UK and now in Sydney.

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