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Meet the Middle East’s Female Athletes Ready to Rock Rio at the 2016 Olympics

Faye Al Sultan / Facebook

Faye Sultan Al Essa / Facebook

The 2016 Olympics are set to kick off this week in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In celebration of the athletic extravaganza, we introduce the region’s female athletes set to take Rio—and the sporting world—by storm.

Saudi Arabia will send four female athletes to represent the Kingdom in Brazil this year. Returning to the track is runner Sarah Attar, who made history at the 2012 London Games as one of the first Saudi women to ever compete at the Olympics. Runner Cariman Abu Al-Jadail, fencer Lubna Al-Omair, and Joud Fahmi, will join Attar this time around.

Four years ago, swimmer Nada Mohamed Wafa Arakji made headlines as the first Qatari female to represent her country in the category. This year, she’s set to return for the 100m butterfly. Kuwait’s first ever Olympic swimmer Faye Al Sultan made her debut in 2012, and will soon compete in this year’s Games.

Sara Al Attar / Facebook

Sara Attar / Facebook

Bahraini runners Hajer Al Umairi and Salwa Eid Naser are also on their way to Rio, but they won’t be going alone. The country is sending swimmer Fatema Al Mahmeed to compete this year, and all three entrants will make their Olympic debuts in Brazil. Meanwhile, Oman will be sending its first female shooter Wadha Al Balushi and sprinter Mazoon Al Alawi to South America for the main event.

The UAE saw two Emirati females qualify for this year’s games. Weightlifter Ayesha Al Balooshi will compete in the 58kg category, and swimmer Nada Al-Bedwawi will participate in the 50m freestyle. Al-Bedwawi will carry the national flag during the opening ceremony, which makes her the second female Emirati Olympian athlete to do so.

Keep your eyes open for our regional talents when the 2016 Olympics hit screens on August 5th. Ladies, we’re rooting for you.

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