Nike launches the Middle East’s installment of the inspiring film ‘You can’t stop us’ today, as part of the month-long campaign dedicated to encouraging women in the region to move their bodies and reach new goals as well as inspiring and motivating athletes across the region to participate in Nike’s 30-day calendar of movement.
The film, which tells the story of a young girl learning how to swim provides a backdrop for four athletes who have carved their own remarkable success stories in sport, Zainab Al Eqabi, amputee and everyday athlete, Sarra Lajnef, Olympic Swimmer, Nike Swim Coach, Rower and Triathlete, Maha Al Ameri, UAE National Rower and Manal Rostom, founder of Surviving Hijab and Nike running coach and triathlete.
For Lajnef, ‘You Can’t Stop Us’ is a particularly poignant homage to the problems she has faced and overcome as a female athlete in the Arab world, “I broke my leg mid-April 2019 after pushing a little too hard during a race in Kuwait and ended up with a stress fracture at the lower end of my fibula. For me, it was out of the question that I forfeit at the Worlds, which was three months later, so I pushed through the pain. I remember one day in June, I walked to the club coach and told him that I would be participating at the World Championships in a month, he looked at me as if I was crazy. On August 19, 2019, that same girl came home with a total of five medals, four of which were gold!”
For Rostom, the importance of surpassing perceived limitations is what pushes her forward, “I would love for every girl to realize that hijab places no limitations on her dreams whether it’s inside the water or outside – if that’s how she wishes to exercise her faith. There is something so magical and liberating about being in and near the water. Every woman deserves the right to experience that feeling whether in a hijab or not. Let there be no limits on what women can do with their bodies just because they choose to cover them. Nike is one of the brands that has championed this inclusivity model and I am so proud to be sending this powerful message to females across the Middle East.”